Archive | January, 2013

Thoughts on Chicken Little

31 Jan

So here I am.  A Liberal, environmentally conscious, organic food-eating, yoga-practicing, vegan.  I have a master’s degree, I am computer literate (but not in a Geek Squad sort of way by any stretch), I’m retired, married and the mom of an 18-year-old college freshman.  I make a point of practicing advice I got from my mom years and years ago: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, it’s best to say nothing.”  I’m tired of those who think a person like me is some sort of whack-a-do, and those who convince others to believe the same.

I was so happy for the Presidential election to be over.  I thought it would be the end of the hate-filled and inaccurate memes and rants on Facebook, editorials in the daily paper and TV commercials.  Sadly, this is not the case.  At all.  I have posted all sorts of pleas to fact-check before posting, to take a breath and remember we’re all friends on Facebook.  Have an opinion, no need to be ugly about it.  If you have the computer literacy to pass on a meme, you have the literacy needed to spend a minute or two fact-checking.  If something is worded in a way that raises your hackles, it’s possible that you’re a victim of propaganda.

Who are these people that start the hate to begin with?  The ones who write slanted and often inaccurate articles and memes.  How did they become so powerful that they can click a mouse and start an uprising of people who are educated and sane?  The hate happens on both sides of every “hot button” topic.  People saying whatever they think will bring people over to their side.  We’ve become a world of Chicken Littles afraid the sky is falling because we saw it on a Facebook meme.

I say it’s time to remember we ARE all friends here and quit giving the power to the bullies on the playground.  Breathe.  Check Snopes.  Respect opinions and diversity.  Bring back civility.  Have a cuppa your favorite brew.  Me, I’m having coffee.

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Vegan Forever?

25 Jan

So.  Four weeks into the vegan thang.  The word that comes to mind most often in reference to this change?  Happy. Happy with how I feel, happy with increased energy, happy that a few pounds have come off, happy with the food.  Here are a couple of examples of the yummy, satisfying meals we’ve been enjoying:

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I really don’t have cravings for things I was so used to eating; surprising to me as I have been an omnivore for over 50 years.  I still have some non-fat Greek yogurt in the fridge.  Not sure what to do about that.  I feel like I should eat it rather than waste it, or freeze it for later. But when will later be?  Little bit by little bit, our fridge and pantry are becoming vegan along with us.

One of the biggest bonuses: not feeling punished.  Other diets I’ve tried (hello, South Beach) have made me feel that way.  This “diet” feels more like treating myself to something really nice.  It feels sustainable.  I’m loving trying new recipes and ingredients.  I love converting favorite recipes into favorite vegan recipes.  I think about food a lot, but not because I feel like I’m starving.  All my favorite comfort foods (potatoes, breads, cereals, ….) came with me for the ride this time around.  I’m not missing oils and fats at all–I added a bit of veggie broth and some tomatillo salsa to a baked sweet potato for lunch–NO need to add the butter I have traditionally had on any potato.

Yup.  Happy.  And still happily caffeinated.

What is it About January?

6 Jan

It started snowing in December, and the snow is still on the ground.  Crunchy, glittery, fresh-looking.  Perfect for the holidays.  Foggy mornings leaving hoar-frosted boughs when the sun peeks out.

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But brrrrrrr!  It’s January and I’m over it.  I’m tired of being cold and  ready for a whole round of new.  What is it about January that creates the mind-set for newness?  Is it as simple as a pristine calendar, eagerly awaiting appointments and travel plans?  Is it how bare my house looks when Christmas decorations are finally stored in their boxes? (Hasn’t happened yet….maybe next weekend after Mr18 heads back to college.)  Is it ingrained in our society, the talk of New Year’s resolutions?  I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, because I’m so there.  Ready to open the door to new.  Ready to try on who I will be as a result of the new.  Committed to a new life-style change.

Michael and I have decided to go vegan.  And fat-free.  This is huge for people who love food as much as we do.  We’re not obese, but could stand to lose a pound or two or ten.  We’re not out of shape.  Not completely.  Well, we’re not marathon-ready anymore.  We eat reasonably healthy, but our cholesterol could be a lot lower.

Our neighbors have been on a diet based on Dr. Caldwell Esselsyn’s book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, for a year.  They have lost weight, they feel great and have more energy.  Michael has a history of heart disease in his family and wants to do anything he can to not be a heart attack waiting to happen.

I must confess to a fair amount of reluctance.  When I’ve gone for days cooking nothing but vegetables for dinner, Michael hasn’t been happy about it.  He’s not a big-time carnivore, but he loves chicken.  I was dreading cooking that way all the time AND not being able to add in cheese or dairy of any sort besides.  I was raised to make people happy with food.  I was also reluctant because I love eggs and dairy.  Waaaaaah.  I want an egg over-easy.  An omelette.  A baked brie.  Sour cream on my baked potato.

After my initial reluctance, and reading a kinder, gentler, less gloom-and-doom version of the diet (The Engine 2 Diet by Dr. Esselsyn’s son, Rip), I’m coming along for the ride.  My new challenge is to get the flavors and textures I love without some of my favorite ingredients.  How I love ham hocks in potato soup, sigh.  After just a few days, I’m liking it.  I get to have most of my carb-y friends, like potatoes, rice and bread.  Dinner isn’t dependent on what meat is thawed.  My fat-free version of potato soup is in the crock pot and smells promising, thanks to a new secret weapon–Hickory Grill Shaker.

Our new treadmill is assembled and waiting for me to go for a walk that will eventually be a run as I try on the new and improved me.  I’ll let you know how it goes; you can follow the vegan recipes on my food blog, Somethin’ Yummy.  Might be treating ourselves to a binge now and then as goals are met.  Not giving up coffee, though.