Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A new family member + some Chaos

I've got Good News! I adopted another doggy. She was found in the same area of Texas and looks exactly like him, so she's got to be family. We saw her picture on and felt compelled to go save her. Plus, we've been considering getting a play-mate for Spencer. He really loves other dogs and wants to play all the time.

Adopting her was a truly odd & memorable experience. We arrived at this farm in Texas and the lady has 40 dogs she is fostering. 40! Plus some cows... Obviously there is shit everywhere. There were some dogs that were loose in the driveway that she quickly shooed into her truck. We stepped into her yard to be greeted by a very sweet Basset Hound. The foster lady (no name) came over and HIT THE DOG IN THE FACE to tell him to get down. Matt and I looked at each other like "Are you kidding me?!" So we follow her in, eyebrows still raised... The moment she steps inside this big dog bites her finger- TO THE BONE.. She kicks the dog and drags him to a room and shuts the door then tries to show us how to the bone the cut actually is. If you know Matt and I you know we're total babies when it comes to this stuff. Matt is having to sit down and I'm having to put a band-aid on this ladies finger that is partly off the bone. I've never seen anything more disgusting!

I glance around- 6 dogs in kennels in this main room, I can hear some thumping upstairs, the Bassett Hound is crying outside, I'm worried about the 2 dogs in the truck and the big dog is whining in the room it was put in. Meanwhile, the lady is bleeding while trying to tell us about the dog we came to adopt. I decide quickly that I've got to save Freckles and I didn't really hear much else she was saying because 2 thoughts were filling my head 1. We've got to get out of here 2. with Freckles

And we meet "Freckles". She runs out of her kennel straight into my arms and stays there licking my face and snuggling into my chest, tail wagging frantically. She meets Spencer and they both are wagging their tales. The lady goes on and on about how "identical these 2 look" and saying "we gotta get a picture of those 2" So we try to hold them into a forced pose so she can take the picture. Matt and I are still shooting "OMG" glances at each other.

We finally finish the paper work, talking, paying and go to leave. But she insists on us getting a picture outside.. So again we try to force the dogs into holding a pose looking at the camera. My knees are sinking into the mud while she tries to get her camera to work right. We go to leave and Freckles steps in a 2" high pile of cow poo and I think "AHH, WE'RE NEVER GOING TO GET OUT OF HERE!"

We wiped her paws off and finally were on our way home. It was a long hour of driving with this drooling, wild, poop smellin' puppy.

I was told Freckles had been there since September and I just realized this-- driving away she never looked back.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Asthma/Vegan insight

After reading my last post about me having asthma I realized that I haven't had any asthma attacks all winter. Normally I have to take my inhaler several times a day and take preventative/steroid meds during this season. I pretty much JUST REALIZED this. I've never had such an easy time breathing.

I am sitting here seriously in amazement.

After some quick research I ran across this:

"A 1985 Swedish study demonstrated that asthmatics
who practice a vegan diet for a full year
have a marked decrease in their need for medications,
and in their frequency and severity of asthma attacks."

"The theoretical basis for the value of vegan diets is the absence of potential triggers, particularly dairy products and eggs, as well as a relative lack of arachidonic acid."

I never would have guessed that I would be vegetarian or vegan. The benefits have been life changing.

This is a list of how changing my diet has effected me personally:
• 10lb weight loss and holding..
• Reduced asthma episodes
• Decreased 'bad' Cholesterol levels
• Negated PCOS symptoms
• Balanced Hormone levels
• Increased taste awareness
• Increased energy

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Delectable Vegan Delight

Matt and I received gift cards to Souper Salad and I never realized how vegan friendly there selection was. I mean I know OBVIOUSLY they have salad, but I have a hard time just eating salad for lunch. I just have a hard time getting excited about eating leaves.

So I was somewhat content with my plate full of salad and I thought I would check on the other items on the bar. The Vegetable Soup had a big sign above it that started with "A delectable Vegan delight..." This was very exciting. A lot of restaurants include cheese, dairy or cream in their soups so this was a wonderful surprise. Now the phrase has stuck in my head and I want to use that description for everything- Bean Enchiladas= "a delectable vegan delight"

Today we ate there again and I really paid attention to all the detailed cards and several things are vegan, including the Corn Bread!

Here is the list if you're interested:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Human Spirit

"The Human Spirit is an emergent property of intelligence that drives it to adapt the environment to the organism. This drive is relatively unique to humans and is progressive in that the drive allows intelligence to grow. This emergent property reveals itself in the reiteration of factors presented as obstacles to an organism, group, or society. As the complexity of these factors grows, the Human Spirit responds accordingly by creating solutions that best adapt the environment to the individual, group, or social organism." ~Wikipedia

I'm sitting here full of grief for those in Haiti. I can't sleep knowing thousands of people are trapped in buildings and suffering. But this tragedy conveys the goodness of the Human Spirit. At the core, Humans are GOOD, Compassionate, Loving, Protective, and eager to help others. In times of crisis this is so evident.

Its hard to imagine that somewhere else in the world wars and destruction are every day.

3 years ago I started listening to NPR while car pooling with a friend. I told her I didn't think I could handle listening to all of the world news. I was used to my sheltered bubble. In fact, I remember being depressed at times worrying about coal mining and the killing of seals and all the endless wars and terrorist attacks and tragedies.

Now I know to feel this pain is good. To let yourself feel this pain is to be aware and informed. And being aware creates Action. To donate, to pray, and to go and help. If a being in this world suffers then I can bear the pain of hearing their story.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Huffington Post article

I thought this article was very interesting. I love the message.

I'm still thinking about the comment of a person not being considered vegan if they are not doing it for ethical reasons. I have to disagree. I don't believe people choices are as clear cut as that and there is no way to measure why someone might choose to be vegan.

Looking back, I realize that my own journey to veganism was a complex series of events throughout my life that opened my mind and heart to choosing this direction. And whether someone is just beginning to explore a vegan diet or is living 100% vegan, that is the path they have chosen and the lifestyle they have chosen to identify with. There is alot to be said for that. I don't think any vegan or vegetarian should be judged on the pace of their change or on their failures.. It's the DIRECTION that counts. It's the GOAL that has meaning, not just the full realization of the goal.

It is a process. In my life, I was always curious about vegetarianism and veganism, but I never understood it. When I watched the "Meet your Meat" video I cried and realized what compassion for animals meant, but before that I never knew what I needed to be compassionate about. When I read the "Skinny Bitch" book it became clear to me that the way I had been eating was truly unhealthy. These 2 events in my life along with several memorable conversations with vegetarians throughout the years sparked a huge lifestyle change.

Ever since I began a vegan diet (almost on a whim) my heart has continued to open up to the exploitation and suffering of farm animals. I've done well with switching to a vegan diet 100% and am focused on changing out my beauty products to be 100% vegan as well (not something I can afford to do all at once).

I hope that all vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores will have compassion for each other and understand that we all do our best in every way we can. If we continue to encourage each other to make positive changes then we will all be better for it. If we judge and criticize then no change will be made. I have no problem with anyone wanting to identify with being vegan or vegetarian for whatever reason -health, environmental, or ethical. In the end, the reduced consumption of animal products is the Goal and that is what will reduce the suffering of these animals.

Similarly, I would consider myself an Environmentalist, but know that I can do so much more. I still consider myself a Runner and am working on increasing my efforts in that regard too. Always aim to be the best you can be in every way you can, and the world will be a better place for it.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Why not go vegan?

So over the last months I have been joyfully discovering foods, baking, cooking, and sharing with everyone I know. I've been surprising and inspiring myself and others!

Recently, I dared my mom to taste the vegan butter "Earth Balance" and she couldn't tell the difference! And I was like "See, it's good!" I keep coming to the point, if vegan food tastes just as good, then why not choose the vegan options? If you can make small changes that don't effect you, but decrease the amount of suffering in the world, then why not.

I understand completely abstaining from eating things is hard. Part of it is breaking physical addictions and cravings, and even harder is breaking tradition and habit.

But making small changes is easy. Example, if you've tried Tofu Manicotti then you know it tastes just like Ricotta Manicotti.. so why not choose the Healthier and more Compassionate meal.

My mom has been surprised by several dishes I have made for her. Beany Enchiladas, Tortilla Soup, Chocolate Chip cookies. A vegan diet can be just as filling, comforting, nutritious and luxurious as a non-vegan diet. Everyone gobbles up the vegan cookies I make from "The Joy of Vegan Baking" cookbook, and when I tell them they're vegan they are shocked.

Overall, I don't feel deprived. I have discovered so many NEW foods. The other day I tried Curry and it is MY NEW FAVORITE FOOD. And I know I've tried it before in my life and hated it. But now it is amazing. There are so many levels of flavors to it. I really feel like I was missing out before. I feel like dairy and cheese made things bland, and made me used to bland food where I could not enjoy the wide variety and spices of delicious ethnic foods out there.

For Christmas, I gave my parents a "cook healthy" basket filled with 2 new Saute pans, 2 diet books on "Eating for Life" with a vegetarian focus, some cooking utensils, nuts etc. And today she just called me and told me she wants to try a vegan diet for 6 weeks to see if she loses weight. I'm so excited for her and I bet she will see weight loss like I did. Everyone wants their parents to live long and healthy lives.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


The Mini-Chilada!

This is truly an exciting moment here. I was making one of my favorite vegan dinners- Bean Enchiladas and decided to fry up some mini-enchiladas with the leftover mixture. My enchilada recipe evolves every time I make it, each time closer and closer to my ideal enchilada (and each time a little more complex). Here are the details for both:

Double Bean Enchilada w/ Green Chile Sauce-
1) SAUTÉ - Chopped onions, Chopped Cilantro, Red Bell Pepper, and crushed, fresh Garlic in Olive Oil--- Set aside
2) MIX (in bowl or in Saucepan on Low-Med) - 1 Drained can of Black Beans, 1 can Rotel, 1 can Vegetarian Refried Beans ---Set aside
3) FRY - Big Size Corn Tortillas in Smart Balance brand Vegetable Oil in a skillet. I was brave this time and added a couple drops of lime juice with each tortilla. BE Careful! The Oil gets really spitty with the lime added. Ouch! I guess we could just sprinkle lime juice into one of the mixes.
4) ROLL EM' - Ideally you'll have a handsome helper with you to roll the enchiladas with the ingredients in the middle as you keep frying the others. You can also choose to add in Vegan Cheese like Tofutti American slices in the middle, or on top.
5) TOP EM'- At this point you can either simply POUR the Green Enchilada Sauce directly on top of the rolled enchiladas in the pan OR you can try thickening the sauce on the stove with a tsp of Corn Starch. I also have added a dash of Nutritional Yeast for a little more of a cheese flavor. Yum! Black Olives are a nice touch too.
6) BAKE IT- 350F till you can't stand it any longer. Update- I just got mine out after 45min and that seemed to be a little too long.

It's a Sunday evening and I'm waiting for Matt to get home so we can eat this yummy food. The full enchiladas are cooking in the oven and I'm staring at the leftover bean mixture and some smaller size corn tortillas. So of course, I decide to FRY EM UP!

Cut corn tortillas in half and FRY in same pan. Flip once. Drop a small dollop of bean mixture making sure not to spill onto the pan. Using tongs and a fork, Roll or Fold as tightly as possible in the pan. Take out and set aside to cool.

The picture above is the last mini-chilada left..(yes I ate the rest) waiting for Matt to eat him when he gets home..