Saturday, September 29, 2012

Salad Bowl Blog: Lows, Highs, Chicago VeganMania, and the Man of My Dreams

It's time for another blog post where I talk about a bunch of random things!

  •  I am in a rut. I don't feel well physically or mentally and I am wondering what it is going to take for me to do the things I know I need to do to change that. It's a nasty cycle really. Getting out of a rut requires energy. I don't have the energy because the things I do (or don't do) when I'm in a rut suck my energy. I am so sugar addicted I can't even joke about it, I am grumpy, moody, and super anxious. I am breaking out in hives everyday, my nasal allergies have gone cah-raaazy, and hellooo eczema!  The thought of intense exercise scares me. Seriously, if I think about doing anything more than yoga or going for a walk I want to cry. Sometimes the thought of yoga alone is enough to freak me out. Friday morning was my low point--I woke up, did not want to get out of bed and after about ten minutes of lying there, I spontaneously burst into tears! I want to ask the universe how I got to this physical and mental place?! But I think I know how--unwise choices, busyness, indiscipline, and just plain life circumstances. 
  • I am planning to have an amazing week. I am going to be kind to myself by making good sleep, exercise, and food choices and spending quality time with my heavenly Padre. I've promised myself that if I make these good choices everyday this week then I will reward myself at the end of the week by getting my eyebrows threaded! Let's see if this external motivation works. I'll keep finding new rewards every week until spiritual, physical and mental wellness become the rewards (I'm thinking this will take a good, long, while).  

  • This past week did have a some highs though. I wore my rainbow earrings to the place where I volunteer and was hit on by one of our clients.  This was a high solely because the situation amused me intensely and gave me a good story to share. Apart from being amused, I was slightly grossed out--the woman was old enough to be my mother (::GAG::)--and slightly embarrassed because really, how inappropriate!  

  • High #2: I signed up for Chicago's Hot Chocolate 5K and will be running it with a very good friend (in a previous post I mentioned that I planned to do a half marathon at the end of October, definitely not happening anymore).
  • High #3: I'm picking up the CSA box for one of my friends who will be out of town this weekend and I get to keep all of the produce! Fresh produce excites me. FREE fresh produce!!?!!! Well...that's pretty orgasmic.
  • High #4: About half an hour after my mini breakdown on Friday morning, I got a fantastic phone call from the Executive Director of the place where I volunteer telling me that I'd gotten the job I'd recently interviewed for there. Ahhh!! I will dedicate a post to this sometime in the near future but for now just know that I am extremely happy about it! I'm just going to have to hide from Ms. lady who reminds me of my mom (::GAG:: again).
  • High#5-I got offered another Netflix free trial. I think this might be my 10th one but c'mon, who says "No, thanks"to a Netflix free trial? This is a great thing because there are several food and nutrition documentaries that I've been wanting to watch and most of them are available on Netflix. Also, the third season of The Vampire Diaries was just put on Netflix. TVD is one of my absolute favorite shows. I missed the entire last season so getting to catch up on it has made me so happy-- Mmmm Stefan Salvatore.

  • Today was Chicago VeganMania! My friend and I were one of the first 100 people in line so we got goodie bags full of vegan...goodies. It was mainly snack food, a few treats (including a peanut butter cup  and superfood fruit chew mmmm), coupons, informational flyers, and tiny beauty product samples.

The bag itself was pretty sweet too. I had a good time. I ate lots of samples, and got to hear the author of one of my favorite blogs , as well as the author of  eat vegan  on $4 a day, speak. I left motivated to make a lovely vegan meal plan for this upcoming week. I'm writing this post instead, but that meal plan is next.

Vegan goodies

You can never have enough reusable bags!

  • Upon leaving the vegan fair today I saw someone who I am sure must be one of the most delightful men in Chicago, if not on the planet. He was [one version of] the man of my dreams. Now, what I am about to describe might sound a little scary at first but try to keep an open mind. He was white with waist long blond dreads. He had tattoos all over his arms and a few on his face too. He had HUGE ear gauges, and a septum piercing. He was well built (SO well built haha) and had a wonderful smile (his teeth were so straight and white) and a very handsome face even with the tattoos. He was walking his dog :). His appearance was just so off the wall and badass but the way he smiled and interacted with people outside of the fair contradicted that "image." I loved it.  If I ever see him again it's going down. I don't know what "it" is yet, but it's happening. I think I was so intrigued because he's the male version of the way I sometimes want to look (minus the face tattoos)! I want to grow long dreads,  pierce my septum,  get a tattoo going down the length of one of my arms, and get ear gauges--small ones. I love the way these things day folks, one day.
Ok, that is all the randomness I have for now.

Until next time :).

Yummy vegan peanut butter chocolate pretzel cup from Chicago VeganMania!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

No-Energy Collards

For the first time in what seems like forever but is actually probably just some months, I have a cold. I can thank the little booger I babysit (lack of sleep and exercise, poor diet, and my generally stressed out lifestyle) for this one. I am pretty miserable. The worst parts are the runny nose that aslo kind of feels like it's burning (?), the weird feeling in my stomach ( why is that part of a cold, maybe I have my illnesses confused), and my complete lack of energy. Like, I can't even deal with life right now. Except I have to. I have an 8am- 10:30pm (If I'm lucky) day of working tomorrow. Pooh :(.

Anyway, I got home this evening and realized I'd left all of my desire to make dinner at the bus stop  I couldn't even stand the thought of making a smoothie. Yes, the thought of  assembling the blender, cutting up greens and fruit, putting them in the blender with some almond milk and flaxseed, and pressing "blend" on "hi" made me want to cry. It's also a little chilly in Chi town tonight so I didn't really want to drink something cold!

After a few moments of despair, I ate a bosc pear, marshalled my thoughts and asked myself what would require the least from me right then. The bunch of collard greens in my fridge came to mind, and I knew everything was going to be alright.  Now...the only leafy green I honestly actually like is Kale (ooh and cilantro, love cilantro...and spinach, I guess I like spinach). I tolerate the rest. Collards, barely. I don't even like them in my smoothies I've realized. I only buy them because it's important to rotate your greens!  Anyway, they seemed easy and desirable tonight so I went into the kitchen and steamed/sauteed a masterpiece with virtually no effort. The process actually took longer than making a smoothie would have, but it just felt right.

If you're like me and, on a good day, can only barely tolerate collards, try them this way!

No-Energy Collards
1 tbs olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced (or really as many cloves as you want!) or 1/2 tbs pre-chopped garlic
6 large collard leaves, torn or chopped into small pieces
1/4 tsp kosher sea salt.

1. Steam collard leaves for 10-15 minutes (read a book, chat with your roomates, lie in bed and stare at the ceiling while you wait)
2. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat
3. Add garlic and saute for about 15 seconds (don't let the garlic get brown!)
4. Add collard leaves and sprinkle with salt, Sautee for 3-5 minutes!
5. Pour onto your plate and enjoy!

Dinner is served! (As my little booger likes to say even when it's not dinner time).

Monday, September 17, 2012

Why I Chopped It Off

“Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy."  James 4:9
A month and a half ago, a friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in several months asked me why I decided to cut my hair so short. We were engaged in an early morning mission to move me out of my then condo and as we carried boxes from my gate to her car, I told her my ready reasons: I wanted to start over with my hair, I wanted to stop hiding who I really was, I was ready for a change in my life and this symbolized a fresh start—the reasons I already had in my head, the reasons I’d already been telling other people, the reasons I knew I was still trying to figure out. Then Delia said something that made me momentarily forget all of those reasons. She said something that rang so true that I recognized it immediately as the unnamed one, the reason I felt but didn’t know how to express.  Mourning.  She mentioned that in some ancient religions people shaved their heads as a sign of mourning.  And I thought without a doubt, “Yes… that’s what I did! That’s what I’m doing.”  

 I was in a lot of pain when I decided to do this big chop.  I’d been struggling with various things for a while and hadn’t had the time to work them out.  And then something happened, one particular incident that brought too much of my pain to the surface. I know it’s cliché but I truly felt like my heart was bleeding out.  And I remember thinking “I wonder how long it’s going to take me to get over this one.”

 After a couple of days I began to feel frantic. I couldn’t get away from what happened and I desperately needed to. I also needed a way to deal with the issues that this one incident had stirred up. For some reason I ended up listening to a teaching that a friend had sent me a few days before, not having any idea what the teaching would be about. Well it was very timely—It focused on the damage that we do to ourselves and others when we hide the truth of our struggles. It added to my inner mess the burning desire to do something to make things right. That’s when I had the idea of shaving my head.  It popped up and I thought “Yes. Then I’ll be new, and everything from here on out will be new like the hair growing out of my head.”  I then came up with a set of life changes that I would implement with the haircut and I felt such relief.
A few weeks into my new do I realized that cutting my hair hadn’t made anything but my hair new. I had not begun an immediate, dramatic change in my life; less hair did not mean less struggles; and not only did I not experience the instant relief I’d been after,  I’d also given myself an extra dose of self-consciousness to bear.  
 But that was all fine because from the day I moved out of my condo to the moment you are reading this post, I’ve been realizing how right Delia was about this mourning thing. Every time I run my hands over and through my short kinks I’m reminded that [3 weeks ago, 1 month ago, 6 weeks ago] 2 and a half months ago there was something that I wanted to cut off, something about which I was very sorry. I’m reminded that a long time ago, even before that particular incident, there was a way I lived that I deeply regretted—a life involving a great deal of hiding, a life lacking integrity.
At the time I cut my hair I wanted to take these things away, I wanted to start over, I wanted to be a new person. But solely cutting my hair could not make me new.  At the time I cut my hair, I didn’t realize that what I was truly seeking was a way to express grief, to offer up an “I’m sorry,” to mourn. I didn’t realize it then, but I do now.

Thank you so much Delia for helping me understand.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

K-Stew, I've got your back.

Last month when I received a text from a friend ( a friend very well acquainted with my love for Robert Pattinson haha) telling me that K-Stew had cheated on R.Patz  with the much older, married director of her most recent film, the first thing I thought,  was "::gasp:: That bitch!" The second was, " they really were together?" 

Because  I am a huge Twilight fan, I have never really liked Kristen Stewart.  Her acting, more so than anyone else's,  stood in the way of my finding complete satisfaction in the first three of the franchise's movies. She also never seemed like a genuinely nice person in her interviews or public appearances. I felt I could forgive her for only one of these faults.

Still  I felt no real ire as I called her a "bitch" in my thoughts (and responding text message). Like I said I never knew that her relationship with Mr. Pattinson had been "official" anyway and amusement was my most overwhelming feeling  as I thought about the serious flak Kristen was about to catch from the crazier set of Twihards out there.

Those Twihards outdid themselves. Poor Kristen.

Why am I blogging about this?


I have always hated the notion that a woman's purity is more important than a man's. This is a prevalent belief in the church... as if God or Jesus EVER intimated such an idea... And the outrageous public reaction to this "scandal" shows that a sexual double standard still operates in our culture to shame women and emphasize women's inferiority to men... Yes cheating is wrong, but how is it that the unmarried young woman has been much more reviled than the significantly older and married father of two?

I read a fantastic article today in which the author discusses how the whole "Robsten" debacle highlights this troubling aspect of our culture's attitude towards women and relates the issue to current politics.  Please read "Trampire:" Why the Public Slut Shaming of Kristen Stewart Matters for Young Women" by Nico Lang. It will make you a smarter person and all round better human being.


One of my favorite quotes"

"I'm not concerned for Kristen Stewart. She'll be fine, and this scandal will die down soon enough. The worst is already over.
  But for young women, the culture of slut shaming that the Kristen Stewart scandal represents won't go away. I might not be concerned for K-Stew, but I am concerned for all the young women today who are tuned into this scandal, ones who are learning that it's not okay to screw up, ever. Chris Brown can publicly beat the hell out of his girlfriend but still be played on the radio and win Grammys. However, if you ever cheat on your boyfriend, your life is over and no one will ever want to be associated with you. Almost no one will blame the much-older guy you cheated with, and it might actually make him more famous and help his career. Few will care that he was your boss and in a position of authority or that he may have have taken advantage of your youth and relative inexperience. Everything is your fault, and your life will be threatened over it."

I love when men are the authors of articles like this one. It gives me hope.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

An update (lots of pictures)

Hi all,

I'm distressed that it's been weeks since my last post. I'm even more distressed by the fact that I STILL haven't gotten back "on track" from the "fried chicken and cupcakes" weekend I wrote about in my last post.  I won't tell you all the unhealthy things I've eaten since then but know that Entenmann's "donuts," a cheeseburger from Five Guys, copious amounts of peanut M&M's, and a McChicken (oh the shame) are all on that list. My body hasn't taken this abuse quietly: my hives came back some days ago (and have been visiting every day since), my face has broken out pretty badly, and my "digestion," has been less than stellar. Overall though, my food choices have not been completely terrible, especially over this past week. Have you seen this picture before?
I appreciate it so much because it accurately describes the food journey I've been on since June 2011. I am in the jumbled phase: I've had many set backs, "fallen off the wagon" often, looped around a lot, haha, but I am always learning more and, overall, moving forward :).

An extremely wise man once said that "life is more than food" (Luke 12:23). I know this is true but I don't always live like I know it is. I am working on having more balance in my life I and hope to have a few non-food related posts up soon! Until then, here are some pictures of the good food choices I've made recently.

I recently read this book.
I borrowed it from my roommate and really enjoyed it. It doesn't [necessarily] advocate a vegan or vegetarian diet (so if you're looking for a detox program that will still "allow" you to eat meat I highly recommend this book) and it even persuaded me to go out and buy [wild, frozen] salmon (I bought 2 six ounce fillets that I intend to make into four servings) and a small carton of eggs (organic and certified humane). I guess the book made me curious to see how I would feel consuming  tiny amouts of  meat/ animal products as part of a very clean, unprocessed diet. When I've used up these two fillets and six eggs, however, I don't plan on buying anymore. Ok, now for those pictures:
Broccoli-Garlic Pasta :). It's brown rice pasta with garlic, olive oil, broccoli, and no-salt added spaghetti sauce sprinkled with a bit of Parma! ( vegan "parmesan" made from nutritional yeast, raw walnuts, himalayan crystal salt).
Spinach-carrot- celery- cucumber- beet juice with a bit of ginger and lemon
Cornmeal porridge (a Jamaican specialty) veganized with homemade gluten-free crackers subbing for the usual Excelsior water crackers I grew up eating this with.
Healthy "ice cream"- what you get when you put frozen bananas, a splash of soymilk, a tsp of cacao powder, 1 tsp of vanilla extract, a pinch of sea salt, 1 tbs raw almond butter, and a bit of agave in a food processor (and let it run for a bit).
Green juice from lactino kale, romaine lettuce, cucumber, celery, broccoli stems, 1 pear and 1 piece ginger.
My most recent "haul" from Whole Foods: organic, unsweetened applesauce, organic frozen veggies: mediterranean blend, organic celery, organic red chard, organic lactino, kale, organic red kale, organic romaine lettuce, organic cauliflower, organic broccoli, 1 lemon, 2 limes, raisins, organic brown/wild rice blend, 1 bunch bananas, 1 container organic "orignial" hummus, 2 organic pears, 2 organic fuji apples, 1 pack organic baby carrots, 1 box baking soda, 1 carton organic, plain, unsweetened soy milk (I usually by the WestSoy brand because it's the cheapest "clean" brand I can find. The ingredient list looks like this "Water and Organic Soybeans." Fantastic).
Dinner one night this week. Note the plate organization: 1/2 veggies, 1/4 grains, 1/4 protein. Steamed broccoli and red chard lightly seasoned with sea salt and garlic powder, brow/wild rice blend, and sesame-ginger-maple baked tofu (I've found a new favorite way to prepare tofu!)
Green smoothie from romaine lettuce, 1/2 large cucumber, 1 pear, 1 frozen banana, water, 1/2 cup soymilk, and ground flaxseed.
Red chard omlette on top of toasted homemade sourdough bread

For the past couple of days I've been snackingon raw cauliflower and baby carrots. At first I tried them with hummus but decided I liked them better plain.

organic red grapes. I turned to these today when I had a sugar craving. (I still ended up eating some M&M's le sigh.)

brown/wild rice blend with 1 tsp gomashio(japanese condiment made from sesame seeds and sea salt)

Green juice from lactino kale, romaine lettuce, cucumber, celery, carrots, 1 fuji apple, 2/3 lemon, and 1 piece ginger. I really enjoyed this juice, it tasted like lemonade. It was especially smooth because I strained it with my super tiny sieve (my juicer is an inexpensive brand/model so the juice it produces usually has a little pulp left in).
"Superfood Smoothie" 2 tsp raw cacao powder, 1 handful goji berries, 2 bananas (1 frozen, 1 very ripe), 1 tbs raw almond butter (Trader Joes makes the best and cheapest raw almond butter I've tried so far!), 1 cup raw homemade almond milk, 1 handful raw walnuts (soaked for 8 hrs). (I didn't use the agave pictured). I honestly wasn't that big of a fan of this smoothie. I think I needed more cacao powder and almond butter and less banana. oh well.
Ok that is all for now! Stay tuned as I continue to pull myself out of the depths of nutritonal disaster haha.