Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie-- Make this. Make this right now.

How was your morning?

Mine was delightful.

 And I owe it all to an amazing breakfast. Meet "Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie."

I found the recipe here last night and immediately knew  that I had to try it. My instincts were right. Every sip was pure bliss. Seriously. I think I'm going to make it again tomorrow.

Go try it!

No, no need to send me a thank you present.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My day of liquids and forgive me for fibbing


In my last post I said that I would be sharing my new plan for consistent healthy eating with you on Sunday. It's now Wednesday. I fibbed. It was unintentional though. Life, disorganization, and fatigue got in the way. So I think I will save the plan reveal for the weekend!

In other news:
On Memorial Day when I'm sure a lot of people were grilling and bbqing  their heart's desire, I was sipping and slurping most of my food for the day. Here are some pictures of my liquid meals!

I started the day with a mug of hot water with a squeeze of lemon (not pictured) and followed that up with a cup of green tea. I. LOVE. tea.
Juice ingredients: 1 beet, handful of parsley, 1 cucumber, 1 clove of garlic, 1 apple, 4 stalks of celery, 1/2 lemon, 1 inch piece of ginger
The yummy result: "liver cleanse" juice!
Smoothie ingredients: 1 banana, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/8 cup hemp seeds, 1/2 tsp kelp granules, 1 tbs flaxmeal, 2 cups red kale, water to blend.

I will call this my "Hemp-licious Banana Blueberry Kale Smoothie" :).

Raw "Cream of Zucchini Soup" Ingredients: 6 ounces almond milk, 1 zucchini, 1/2  roma tomato, 2 basil leaves, 2 pitted dates, 1/4 cup hemp seeds, 2 tbs lemon juice, 1 clove of garlic

Raw Cream of Zucchini soup with some dulse flakes sprinkled on top. The soup was really good! A little too sweet for me to think of it as "soup" though.
"Ice cream" ingredients: Pistachio milk, 2 frozen banans, flax oil. (I ended up omitting the flax oil).
Pistachio-banana "ice cream". I've made "ice cream" in my blender many times but this time I used too much [pistachio] milk so the consistency was super soft serve :/. It was still tasty though and the perfect thing to eat on what was a very hot night! I sprinkled some chia seeds on top.
In between these, I snacked on some fruit, tortilla chips, olives and had an egglplant veggie burger with a slice of Ezekiel bread for dinner!

Later friends! 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

My Saturday and...juice

I spent the majority of my Saturday in bed. Reading. It’s been a while since I’ve done that. The lucky book was Lover Reborn, the latest in J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. It falls in the “paranormal romance” genre, I think. It was excellent. I’ve read three out of the eleven books that make up this series—the three most recently published ones. I really enjoyed the first two I read (books 9 and 10)  but this last one (book 11) is the only one so far that I’d describe as “excellent.” According to a friend who also enjoys this series, the first three are supposedly the best so I am planning to go back and read the entire series starting with the first book. I will let you know if she is right. It’s an incredibly strange series haha. I just tried to write a synopsis of it for you and failed. Google if you’re curious!

I have to say at first I found J.R Ward and this series (let’s count how many times I’ve said “series” so far) quite annoying—I couldn’t STAND the way she wrote (for example instead of saying sneakers her characters describe shoes as “shitkickers.” That might be cool once but they don’t just do it once. Shoes are never shoes in her books they are always “shitkickers.” How many times can you use that word before it gets old? Once! And her books are always at least 400 pages long—this last one was 572 pages—that’s a lot of opportunity to say “shitkickers.” I bet you’re already annoyed just having to have read that word three times). I also found the main gender ideas promoted in her book a little questionable. But her style grew on me— overall she writes in a way that is unlike anything I’ve ever read, SO completely her own and I now kinda love it. And I realized that her gender angle wasn’t so cut and dry—she presents an interesting combo of macho caveman mentality traditionalism and progressiveness.
Once I stopped being annoyed I could appreciate the humor of her writing style as well as admire the uniqueness of it and the boldness it takes to be that kind of unique. Ultimately I got pulled into her very strange world and the stories taking place in it. After that first book Lover Mine(actually the 9th one in the series) I picked up the next one, Lover Unleashed, and then the next--the one I read today ( yes, the titles are all "Lover something," no the books are not as corny as that trend suggests) . Something Ward does extremely well is tell multiple stories at once. Even though each book focuses on a specific character there are always other stories going on in the periphery that come to fruition in the following books. And because of this I am anxiously awaiting the next book in this series (which should be out by the time I finish reading books 1-7 and the insider’s guide, yay)! It will finally focus on and bring resolution to one of those peripheral stories in which I’ve become deeply invested!

Anyway I’m not particularly recommending the book or the series (although I really enjoy it!) but now you know a little more about me and about my Saturday!

Now lets switch gears to my fave topic—food! My diet lately has been a combination of poor and stellar. Swedish fish and mustard greens-spinach-banana-strawberry smoothies. Sugar jacked “chocolate” wafers and raw kale salads (so freaking good!). “Crazy cake” custard and gluten free oatmeal with raisins and chia seeds. Entire bars of dark chocolate and plastic snack baggies of carrots and apples. I’ve been eating 3 bananas and at least 3 handfuls of raw cashews a day. I know, what the eff right? My body is saying the same thing. I need consistency and I have a new plan to get it. It starts tomorrow (Sunday) and I will share it with you then! In the meantime check out this uber healthy juice I made a few days back. Don’t gag. It’s impolite.
Ze main ingredients. Just made orange-carrot juice and mustard green juice, frozen strawberries and green superfood powder.
Blended the strawberries with the mustard green juice.
Combined the strawberry-mustard green juice with the orange-carrot juice
Added 1 tablespoon of the green superfood powder
et voila! I downed that sucker. and I liked it.
Until tomorrow!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fifty Shades...

I am bereft.

My soul is downcast.
Why you ask?

Well, I just completed the Fifty Shades Trilogy and I have that melancholy feeling I get when something great has come to an end. When I end a good series I always have a hard time re-entering the “real world.” It happened with Harry Potter, the Twilight Saga, The Vampire Academy series, The Mark of the Lion trilogy…. Friends (the TV show)….and now, this.

Have you heard of the Fifty Shades Trilogy? If not, don’t worry, I only heard  of it a couple of weeks ago. Although it was just published in April it has become something of a phenomenon, gaining and maintaining bestseller status since. The term “Fifty shades” kept popping up in some random friends’ statues on my Facebook news feed. After using context clues to figure out the term was the name of a book, I googled it. Here is the beginning of the Wikipedia article on the series- “Fifty Shades of Grey is a New York Times #1 bestselling erotic fiction paperback and e-book by E. L. James. Set largely in Seattle, it is the first installment in a trilogy that traces the deepening relationship between college graduate Anastasia Steele and a young business magnate, Christian Grey. It is notable for its explicitly erotic scenes featuring elements of BDSM.”

BDSM?! Whaaaa? This description (as well as many others that I found) sounded kind of wonky and strange so I decided to pass. But then “fifty shades” popped up one time too many—a friend posted a facebook status saying how excitedshe was about finally getting the third book. Curiosity got the best of me again and I went over to to see some more reader reviews. As I read praise after praise of the trilogy I became more and more intrigued. Maybe it wasn’t so wonky after all. It was the last line of the official book description that really made me consider reading it though. It read Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.” I thought, hmm how can this book that has been dubbed “mommy porn” be “deeply moving” ?

Over the next week I did more scant research, and although the descriptions of the book remained off putting (I’m just not one to read erotic fiction for the sake of erotic fiction y’know?), something gradually shifted in my brain and I went from feeling mmm, meh about the book to thinking I have to buy this tonight! No…tonight? No…tonight? Yes. Yes!” So a week and two days ago I purchased the kindle version of the first book (I have a “Kindle for PC” not an actual handheld kindle) Fifty Shades of Grey and I stayed up all night reading it. Doing so was an unwise decision on my part as I had a tremendously busy day and rest of the week ahead. But I couldn’t stop. I finished the 514 page book on Thursday night (it would’ve been sooner if not for the aforementioned tremendous business). It was seriously fantastic. FAN-TAS-TIC. I promptly purchased the second one, Fifty Shades Darker, online Thursday or Friday and on Saturday during a Target trip I bought a physical copy of the third and final book in the series, Fifty Shades Freed.

The past couple of days when I took Emile (my babysitting protégé) to the park I used some of the time to read. On both those days I had mothers at the park with their children glimpse the book in my hand and exclaim “oh you’re reading Fifty shades?!” One woman told me that her husband bought her the trilogy for mother’s day, and then another mother told me that she was also halfway through the 3rd book. Considering the “erotic” nature of the books, this was HI-LARIOUS for me. Especially because of this  SNL Skit hahaha.

 I’m waiting for this series to become really, really big to the point where there are more facebook statuses either gushing about it or expressing annoyance over it. I am expecting more of the latter. After the second mother approached me in the park, when my initial amusement died down, I randomly thought, the series would gain legitimacy if men liked it. That thought sparked some  other thoughts about “men’s fiction” and “women’s fiction” and how one term garners respect, while the other is more likely to solicit eye rolls. Then I thought, well actually there really isn’t an explicit“men’s fiction,” genre. You won’t see that term printed on a book spine. Kind of like how you won’t see a “white fiction” genre or “white entertainment tv.” And, well it is legitimate to say that a truly good book is one that both women and men will enjoy, that’s fair. But then I thought but there’s more to it than that… unless a book is backed up by male approval, thought it may be popular, it just doesn’t get the same critical acclaim or legitimacy it would otherwise, while if a woman says “this is a good book!” that judgment is up for more debate and needs to be validated by a male opinion. Then I wondered—is the problem that women are more likely to be attracted to “sillier” books than men? If so, why? Or are certain books thought of as silly because women rather than men are attracted to them? And whose definition of “silly” (or “not silly”) is legit?

I don’t know how valid these thoughts were. ::Shrug:: I feel like things are this way but that’s only my perception. I guess my main point now is that I think society is quicker to negatively judge a popular book because it doesn’t appeal to the majority of men whereas if a popular book does not appeal to the majority of women it’s not bad at all—in fact that could be one of its merits. It is then a sensible, logical book—and I see things playing out this way for this series.

Anyway, I really just wanted to share how much I loved the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. It was a great reintroduction to the world of fiction after a couple of months of predominantly reading my chemistry text book and books about food and nutrition. I will probably read it again soon. Slowly. If you are curious I would recommend checking it out. Be forewarned that all the descriptions you find of the series might sound silly. But before you get judgy (pssh did Morgan really read this crap?!) or think it’s not worth your time, remember your initial reaction when someone suggested you read Harry Potter or Twilight. Exactly.

Yes its very risqué and I have to admit that I did get a little tired of all the sex. I remember it felt especially tedious in the second book. I’d turn the page and would think “Oh look…they’re having crazy sex…again. But for the most part it’s not pointless. It’s not erotica for the sake of erotica... for the most part. And for those who would find BDSM morally offensive, be slightly reassured that there’s no hardcore, outrageous stuff and the book does not actually promote the practice. It’s just a part of the plot. And it is a good plot. The books are very funny and the characters are super wittyJ. And like I said before it really is “deeply moving” like amazon promised :).

If you give it a chance, I don’t think you’ll regret reading it. You might even be a little sad when it’s done.

Sigh L.
I liked this cluster of reviews that I found on Wikipedia :
The Telegraph criticized the book as "treacly cliché" but also wrote that the sexual politics in Fifty Shades of Grey will have female readers "discussing it for years to come."[9]A reviewer for the Ledger-Enquirerdescribed the book as guilty fun and escapism, but that it "also touches on one aspect of female existence [female submission]. And acknowledging that fact – maybe even appreciating it – shouldn't be a cause for guilt."[10]

Interesting no?

Also, there is a good article about it on the Huffington Post (it has a couple of minor spoilers though) And oemgee please watch this video of Ellen Degeneres supposedly doing a reading for the audiobook. It is effing hilarious.

Bye friends!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

All about sprouts!

Sprouts are an amazingly nutrient dense food (read this very short article to find out why)! A little while after starting my vegan journey last summer I began learning about raw foodism and, consequently, about sprouts--a significant part of the raw foods diet. The books I read encouraged  growing them at home instead of buying them from the store. Many months later I picked up a sprouting jar and a couple packs of seeds from the small health foods store in my neighborhood and gave it a try. My first attempt (I grew alfalfa sprouts) was a success! Since then, sprouting has become a semi-regular practice of mine. Here are some pictures of my most recent sprout fest :):

The process is fairly simple. You soak the seeds for 8-10 hours, rinse them well, and then let them sprout for a few days, rinsing 2-3 times a day.

After 4 days, ready for the harvest!
Pre-rinse. So, I'm actually not 100% sure what type of sprouts these are. The bag I bought said "sandwhich mix" haha. I know there's alfalfa in there and I think mung beans. I'm also guessing clover and radish....
Rinsing well is EXTREMELY important.
Approx 1.5 cups of yummy sprouts
I used the last of my sprouts harvest on this salad today. In case you're wondering, that's a "burger" made from raw almonds, walnuts, hemp seeds, and coconut butter (with some other seasonings and spices of course) over romaine, topped with sweet pea hummus. I threw the salad together on a whim (the burger and hummus recipes are from this guy and this gal, respectively).  I had about 11 minutes before I had to be out the door. I got lucky, it ended up being a terrific combination!  

I hope you'll give sprouting a try!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A "Cook and a Tool"

I never took him for an ignorant jackass.  And I guess I still don’t. But I have to admit the words popped into my head and they didn’t feel wrong…

Last night and part of this morning I got into it with an old family friend on facebook over an image he decided to post. Well maybe “got into it” is inaccurate. We did not have a heated argument. I didn’t feel “heated.” And after my comments, neither did he. From what I could tell through my expert reading of facebook “tones,” we were both speaking calmly. What I did feel was a deep disappointment in this grown man, who I’ve known since I was about 4 years old and assumed was sensible, doing something that in my mind is only reserved for the aforementioned ignorant jackasses.  What did he do? He posted this photo:

Do you need a moment?

I know I did.

I was simultaneously annoyed and saddened to be confronted with another  derogatory representation of how some men (such a vast number of men) feel about some women, their identity, and their place in the world. Normally I’m not one to engage in facebook conflict. If I see something ignorant or plain dumb I tend to just  roll my eyes or, if it really annoys me, hide that person from my news feed. In this case I decided to say something.  I felt someone had to say “this is wrong.”

When I told my friend I was disappointed in him, his first defense, as I expected it would be, was that all men think the same thing but at least he had the “courage” to say it. IJ statement number two.  I told him mi nevah kno seh him did tun mind readah! and that  I was grateful that I knew some men who lacked “his particular kind of ‘courage.” And THANK GOD for the men I know who realize that this image and its message are problematic. I kindly replied that there was a difference between a) appreciating good food and sex and b) endorsing this picture.

The “in the kitchen or on her back” sentiment really bothered me--it’s implication that ultimately a woman’s "realness" and value is only as much as she can do for “her man.” And the picture itself is clearly sexually objectifying. The message, another crass form of “ladies you better do whatever it takes to hold on to your man,” or “girl you better meet his needs or he’ll find someone else who will.” Why do some men think they need to use this tactic to get women to love, or at least put out for, them.  Attack her identity, degrade her a little, plant a seed of fear and self-doubt in her psyche.  This is the basest version of that approach, but the messages show up in different ways.  I realize to some it might seem harmless and [unfortunately] very amusing. But it is neither harmless nor funny as I am sure many women have already internalized some version of this ridiculousness.

Another man’s defense was that if this had been a picture of a half-naked man with the same words printed, the reactions of women would have been different. Obviously. This does not help your case. Because 1) this gal is not “half-naked.” I don’t think that piece of string between her purposefully distorted butt cheeks counts as clothes.  I don’t know how you could proportion a man’s body to garner the same effect without coming up with a ridiculous image. 2) Though my reaction would be different if it had been a man’s body in the photo, I would still find it problematic. Objectification of ANYbody is wrong. 3) The long history of sexual objectification that is unique to women makes it a different case.  Men are not socially vulnerable in the same way. They are not constantly being fed the message that having a woman defines them, that they need to do whatever it takes to hold on to their woman, or that they exist to meet their women’s needs. Few people are telling a man that his importance is mainly tied to a woman and few people are sending women the message that men’s bodies are really theirs for the taking. So, in  the context of this here lovely society, the harm of presenting a woman this way far exceeds the harm that would come from presenting a man in the same way.  For now.
I’m concerned for the men who find it ok to circulate this image. I’m concerned for the women who will nod in agreement upon seeing it.

I am all for the good food and the good sex…but men, presenting your desire for these things in this way, presenting an image of a woman this way, is simply not okay.  I hope my friend is just as eager to share this photo with his “real woman.” If he ever finds her.

P.S Thankfully my fb friend seems to also have other sensible fb friends. A couple of other people had some valuable things to say:
Favorite (and only valuable) comment by another woman :
I don't like this.... the message is saying that a real woman is simply a cook and a tool for satifying a man's sexual needs?

Favorite (and only valuable) comment by a man:
The true litmus test for whether any man truly should propogate any of these things is in the following question: Do you believe your daughter should abide by <insert whatever meme>?

Amen. Tell 'im again fah me sir!