Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Are You a Vegan?!

If so you should participate in "The Big Vegan Count!" The London Vegan Society is attempting to figure out how many vegans are in the world, a very useful figure!

I just did this and it took less than a minute and you don't have to provide any personal information (unless you want to give them your email to receive updates). Let's see how many vegans are out there!

In other news, my parents and I just got to the eco-vegan resort we are staying at for a few days, the Stanford Inn by the Sea, and so far it has been amazing! Tomorrow I am taking a yoga class, having a private nutrition session with the resident nutritionist here, as well as planning on doing some outdoor activities! We already dined at the vegan restaurant which was quite tasty and very accommodating of my allergies. So far so good!

Finally, has anyone else watched the google+ hangout with JL Fields about getting more grains into your diet? I was happy to see the video was available after the hangout as I have recently been paying a little more attention to the amount of grains I consume. When I was tracking my diet for my nutrition class this summer I discovered I only consume 16% of the recommended grains daily! While nutritionally this is not presenting problems for me, I think adding more grains to my everyday diet would be a good way to keep me satisfied for longer periods of time after a meal. JL provided some useful tips and I think I am going to make more of an effort to batch cook my grains!

Check out the video!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Monday Love List Number Twelve

Oh right! It's Monday!

It has been a crazy weekend for me and my family in which we moved my younger sister into college! While we had to carry lots of stuff up stairs and went to target way too many times, we got it all done, and I am so happy for my sister.


1. College!!! 

College is so much fun. So much stress, but also so much fun. I really enjoyed exploring another school's campus and community and it added to my excitement about my sister's college experience as well as my own! I can now say I am excited to head back to school in the fall (although I am still looking forward to the time I have off!)

2. Vegan fast food

This food was awesome. In San Diego, where my sister is attending San Diego State University, me and my parents ate at Evolution Fast Food, a vegan, organic, mostly raw restaurant and it was awesome. Like seriously, we enjoyed it so much that we went back to try it again!

The first night we went here I had the raw burger with stuffed veggies and a berry flax smoothie and it was all wonderful. My Dad had essentially the same thing and my Mom tried the mushroom swiss burger. The second time we came here my dad and I had the raw tacos with some more smoothies, my mom tried the south of the border burger and we also had an order of fries. And man those fries were awesome.

I also really liked having the whole fast food experience, something I don't have often. Every once and a while, that's just what you want!

This food was so good that me and my parents have still been thinking about it! If you are in the area you should definitely check it out!

3. Trail-mix cookies

For our travels I made a batch of these cookies and they are amazing. They were great for me since I had almost all of the ingredients in my pantry!

My family also really enjoyed these cookies and they were gone quickly. I try to avoid making big batches of things if I will be the only one eating them, so this was a great time to try them out. I definitely recommend them!

Alright, as I am totally exhausted, I think that's it for now. I hope you all had a great weekend and have lots of fun things planned for the upcoming week!

Happy Monday!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Monday Love List Number Eleven!

I didn't forget!!! It's a little late but HAPPY MONDAY!!!

I have had a very busy, non-stop Monday and expect the rest of my week to be the same. I am preparing to go on a week+ vacation starting this Thursday involving moving my sister into college, visiting family, and get this, staying at an eco vegan resort!!!! It's going to be crazy and awesome all at once!

But, without further delay, the things I am loving this week!

1. Summer break!

Yay! It's finally here! I get over a month off where I get to do things not related to school! Like travel, sleep, read, spend time with family and friends, and well...whatever I want! Hooray!

2. Seeing old friends

My summer break started out with a bang last week with me being able to catch up with some of my oldest friends who were in town! I also get to see more of my oldest friends tomorrow and Wednesday, something I am super pumped about!

3. New resource pages!

Almost as soon as my summer break started I had tons of new and exciting ideas for this blog! The first of which I have already put together.

I thought it would be helpful to include a couple resource pages, one on veganism, and one on handling corn allergies, to hopefully help provide others with information! I am especially happy to have put together my page on corn allergies, since there is such limited information available on this topic.

4. An excellent film

Last weekend I went and saw The Kings of Summer at the Crest Cinemas for only $3 and it was really good!

Morgan and I decided to go on a whim after only seeing the trailer and we were glad we did! It was a great summer coming of age film with both humor and drama and we are already wanting to see it again! It also included great shots of nature, which I thought were just stunning. If you are looking for a good summer film I would definitely recommend checking this out!

5.  A good detective novel...narrated by a dog

I started reading this book a little while ago but have been able to get more into it since I've been out of school. This story follows Bernie and his dog Chet as they run their private investigation business. What makes this story unique is that it is told from the perspective of Chet! This book has been interesting and humorous, and at times a bit dark, and is something I have been greatly enjoying.

I am also rather picky about fiction, so I am happy to find one that I like! I believe there is a series of these books, so I look forward to reading more!

Alright, with that I think it's time I spend the rest of my evening reading and get back to the story of Chet and Bernie!

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 16, 2013

New Resource Pages!

Hello hello!

Last night, as I was running on chocolate, very little sleep, and some black tea, I wrote up some resource pages!

The vegan resource page is mostly a list of links that I have found helpful or think would be helpful for new (and seasoned) vegans or those interested in veganism. There is a ton of information out there on veganism and it was quite inspiring to compile this list. It really showed me how much there really is. I of course did not include everything that may be helpful, but many sites lead to other sites which leads to even more information! This is how I've built up the network of blogs I adore. Once you find one you like, it opens doors to similar blogs and before you know it you don't know where to start! (This is my situation currently, I would say a good half of all the email I receive is updates about new posts on blogs I love, not something I have a problem with!).

Next I wanted to create a page for managing corn allergies. Unlike veganism, there is a scant amount of easily available or truly helpful information on corn allergies. This page consists of a few links but mostly a compilation of the things I have learned through managing my own allergy that I think will be most helpful to others. A lot of these tips can apply to any allergy, although some are a bit more specific to the challenges faced by the avoidance of corn. While I have learned to deal with my corn allergy much through trial and error, I hope that by providing these suggestions, I can make things a little bit easier for someone else.

This also got me thinking about my dream career path (something I am still formulating in my head) and about how I want to be able to help people dealing issues like these and provide them with some support so they don't have to do it all alone. While it is each individual person that needs to determine for themselves the food or foods their body cannot, or should not, tolerate, this does not mean that it needs to be a lone battle. If I had access to professionals who could actually help me when I first learned of my allergies, I think I would have come to a healthy and happy place much sooner, and with a lot fewer missteps. So, while the specifics of my ideal future remain fuzzy, it is great to know that this is one service I want to provide!

I hope that these resource pages will provide some support to those that find them and make their journey a little easier. I would love to hear any more resources or suggestions I have not included in those lists that you think are important and could be helpful! I would also be interested to know how other people suffering with corn allergies have learned to manage them and how their techniques differ from my own.

Also, veggies anyone?!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

See What I Mean?!

It always seems that as soon as I start to notice something, I start to see it everywhere!

This has definitely been the case with the rise in corn allergy coverage. As I spoke of in my post this Monday, recently I have been seeing an exponential increase in mentions of corn allergies and of products being labeled "corn-free."

Then, almost as if someone wanted to prove my point, I was at PCC on Tuesday and what do I see? Veggie patties labeled "Vegan. Gluten-free. Corn-free. Soy-free." Whaaat??? It's like I didn't even have to check the ingredients! I of course did anyway, because well when don't I check the ingredients, and yes indeed no corn, gluten, soy, or animal products! I knew I had to give them a try!

The first time I made these patties I pan fried one with some caramelized onions and served it over mac and cheese.

"Mac & Chreese" by Road's End Organics

Yummy yummy! (And yes I did add kale to my pasta)

The second time I made these I baked a patty and served it with cauliflower (which I gobbled up before I could get a picture) and baked yam fries.

I preferred the stove top preparation compared to the oven since it left the patty with a much crunchier and crispy texture, which I thought was pretty fun. However, either way these patties are really quite tasty! It's actually recommended to make these in the toaster, which I did not do since our toaster is full of potentially poisonous ingredients for me, but I would expect that's a really good way to make them.

Oddly enough I cannot say that I have ever had a veggie burger. This mostly stems from the fact I have not found a bun I can eat to put the patty on, which really prevents any sort of "burger" experience from happening, and up until now I have not found a patty I wanted, or could, try! So, while I do not have much of a reference point I thought these were good!

I purchased the "Wholesome Harvest" flavor but the other vegan options (two of their flavors are vegetarian) were "Spicy Bean" and "Hearty Hemp Seed" and I would definitely be interested trying these to see how they compare. The type I tried has both sweet potatoes and maple syrup in the ingredients making it more of a sweet patty, perhaps not the most traditional style for veggie burgers (although really what do I know?!). These did have the trouble of falling apart a bit, which based on my understanding is a common problem with veggie patties, but this wasn't an issue for me because of how I was eating them. All and all a tasty addition to my meals and a handy thing to keep in the freezer for those days when I don't have too much time or energy to worry about my meal.

If you want to check this product out you can find it here! I'm so glad to see more products being labeled as corn-free (as well as vegan) and I hope this trend continues to grow!

Today also marks the start of my summer vacation, which started after my 8:00am chemistry final this morning. While it has not been the most summery of days I have managed to have a great day napping, visiting a coffee shop with a friend, and enjoying some Firefly with chocolate and tea. That all works for me!

Since I have a break for almost six weeks I hope to be blogging more frequently and look forward to taking on the "Vegan Month of Food" or Vegan MoFo challenge in September!

I'll be back soon, until then, enjoy this song that I've been loving lately! Happy Thursday!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday Love List Number Ten!

Happy Monday everyone!

I hope you all had a great weekend, mine was full of a lot of self-reflection, work, and ultimately a new found understanding of myself. For more on that, please see my post from last night, if you haven't already.

Well, let's get right into it! Here are some thing's I am loving this week!

1. Thunderstorms

Late Friday night we had a giant thunderstorm. Lots of rain, lightening, and of course thunder. I have always liked thunderstorms, especially those that happen in the summer. This thunderstorm was even more appreciated because it matched my mood at that moment and was just what I needed.

Check out this awesome picture and video from the storm!

2. The final push

This week is the very final week of summer quarter! I have two finals and a few very demanding days ahead but by Thursday afternoon I will be done with the quarter! While it has certainly been a lot of work I am overall very happy that I decided to take classes this summer. I have been able to feel productive and as though I am doing something meaningful with my time and very soon I will be able to enjoy the almost six weeks I have off!

During that time I will doing a good amount of traveling, something I am looking forward to, but will still have plenty of time to get in some rest and relaxation. I can't wait!

3. Corn...a common allergen?! 

While I'm never happy to hear about the growing number of people experiencing food allergies or intolerances, recently there has been an explosion of mentions of corn as a common allergen. When I first learned I had a corn allergy I had never heard of anyone else experiencing this allergy and there were, and really still are, very few resources out there to help me determine what contains corn and what doesn't. As a result it took me a very long time to determine what is really safe for me to eat and use and what isn't, something I still have to think about. 

However, if corn is finally recognized officially as an allergen and is identified as something many people are dealing with, my life will be exponentially easier. I can just picture it, more products saying "corn-free" or even just corn being added to the list at the bottom of the ingredient list stating the common allergens in the product. 

While these would be small changes, sometimes small changes can make a big difference and lead to even bigger changes. That's my hope at least, in regards to allergy labeling and awareness as well as many other issues I care about. 

4. Vegan MoFo

This weekend I signed up to participate in the "Vegan Month of Food" or Vegan MoFo. This means during the month of September I will be blogging as often as possible, at least 20 times but hopefully every day, about vegan food and all the wonder it has to offer! 

I look forward to this challenge and to seeing what other bloggers post about!

5. Friends coming home!

Last but not least my roommate and best friend returned from her travel in Africa this summer! While she wont be back as my roommate until September she was able to visit for part of the weekend and I had a great time catching up and spending some time with her!

Alright, I'll be back soon, but for now I hope that everyone has a good week!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A confession: I am vegan for the animals

I feel bit ridiculous writing this post (and not only because I should be writing a paper right now) because the fact that I am vegan for the animals is so clear in my mind. However, I have been realizing that this may not be so clear for others in my life.

This realization finally occurred to me when I read this post by Gena Hamshaw from Choosing Raw which was posted on Our Hen House early this year. The progression Gena describes of her own veganism as one transitioning from a perspective of health to one that is so much more meaningful very much parallels mine and really spoke to me. She is one of my favorite vegan bloggers and her writing always touches me deeply. Reading her story has helped me crystallize in my own mind my relationship with food and veganism and ultimately has lead me to this post and my desire to share this with you all.

Meet my new mug, another inspiration
 for this post that I found at Goodwill 
I first began eating a vegan diet because I believed it was the healthiest diet and ultimately the cure to all of life's ailments. Gena describes her "flirtations" with the eating disorder orthorexia, or the extreme preoccupation with eating a healthy diet and avoiding foods seen as unhealthy. While I don't think I ever crossed the line into this pattern of disordered eating I certainly embodied some of these unhealthy practices. For a while I truly believed that eating a vegan diet (or really a "plant-based diet" as all the health vegan site say) was the only way to be healthy. Now, I fully recognize the problems with this view and that there can be many diets that promote a healthy lifestyle. I also have moved on from looking at foods as "good" or "bad" or restricting certain foods because I viewed them as "unhealthy." Overall, my relationship with food is one involving much fewer rules, much less stress, and much more fun and enjoyment. These are things I especially value as my diet involves enough nonnegotiable restrictions with my food allergies.

Another thing that has made me realize this shift in perspective on food is the aforementioned paper I should be writing at the moment. In this assignment, for my online nutrition class, I had to track my food intake and feelings surrounding food for four days. As I was doing this I realized that I, for the most part, eat in response to my body's signals and also eat what sounds appealing to me at that time. Most of the time the foods I actually want to eat are also the foods I think will contribute the most to my health, like a giant kale salad. However, this is not always the case. I have a blog post planned where I will share with you the delicious nachos I made this past week which, while also containing healthful ingredients, were eaten mostly because I just plain wanted a huge mess of nachos!

So where does this leave me with my veganism? Well, let me tell you, if I were only in it for my health I would likely no longer be vegan. However, I am now wholeheartedly in it for the animals.

Somewhere along my journey of eating a vegan diet I began identifying myself as "a vegan" and really opening my heart and eyes to the animal message. I have learned of so many, unimaginable, cruelties and injustices experienced by animals and of the horrible way they are treated in our society. I could go on and on about the horrors of meat, egg, and dairy production but I do not feel the need to go into that here, I have relived it too many times. However, there are countless videos and articles out there if you want to learn more about the inherent cruelties of this system.

I do not think is it right the way animals are treated and killed in our society, and all over the world. Nor I do not think that this is necessary. We can live a healthy and fulfilled life full of no deprivation without eating or using animals for our own pleasure. In addition, living a vegan lifestyle is better not only for our planet but also for the other people on this planet. This recent report came out looking at our food system and where all of the calories we grow and raise end up. They found that an extra 1.5 billion people could be fed if we all ate a vegan diet. If we were to also stop making biofuels, we could feed an extra 4 billion people. The environmental benefits of eating a vegan diet have also been well covered. Three years ago, the UN even came out saying "A global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change," about which more can be found here.

So, from my perspective, and from that of many, there is no reason not to be vegan.

To be clear, my purpose for writing this is not to shame or attack those of you who do not consume a vegan diet. While yes, I will honestly admit, I would be thrilled if everyone I know became vegan, I respect the right of each of us to make our own choices and live the life we want to live, just as I expect those around me to respect my decision to be vegan.

Up until this point I have experienced incredible support from my friends and family, which I am immensely grateful for. However, for quite some time there has been a little voice gnawing away at me, telling me something isn't right. I think until this point I have been hiding behind the health argument, something that has been especially easy to do because of my experience with my very complicated food allergies. But, I think it is time that I need to be clear. While I do not choose to eat a gluten-free and corn-free diet, I 100% choose to be vegan. It is a choice I make every day and a choice I plan to make every day for the rest of my life.

As this little voice has become stronger and stronger over the last year, I have also begun to experience more despair and feelings of isolation. I realize now that a lot of those feelings have come from the fact that I have not been forthcoming about these issues. These struggles reached their peak this past weekend where I spent much of my time curled up in bed, paralyzed by grief, anger, and hopelessness. I want to use my time on this earth to make it a better place and I know I cannot do that if I am not bold enough to share my opinions and experiences. There are many things I want to do, related to animals and diet as well as other issues, and I know I cannot do these things if I spend my time replaying the horrors of our world in my head like a broken record.

I wholeheartedly believe that we have to be the change we want to see in the world. If we don't do it, then who will?

I know I still have a long way to go to truly live a life as free of animal products as possible, for I do still own and use household and clothing items made from or tested on animals that I obtained before I had this fire burning under me. However, I am fully prepared to take the steps required to reach where I want to be and view my veganism as central to my identity. As such, I know I need to share this part of myself with those around me, for if I don't I know I will never be all that I can be.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Monday Love List Number Nine!

Hi all! It's love list time!

After a rough morning of many difficulties going from a dead asleep to a functioning human, today has turned into a relatively productive Monday! While Mondays always seem to go by very quickly with not too much getting done, there are always things to love!

1. Books!

And a whole lot of them! For me summer has always been a time to read read read and this summer, despite me also taking classes, has been no exception. As you can see most of these are from the library, a wonderful resource I do my best to utilize, which does however sometimes makes it difficult to actually get through all of my books! In fact just today I had to return two books that I would have loved to hold onto just a little longer. But, there is always another book to pick up (or two or three...).

2. Raw chocolate

Last week I purchased Go Raw's mint chocolate and man, I may have to just say this is the best chocolate bar I've ever had!

This chocolate, which actually came in six individually wrapped squares, was very reminiscent of Ghirardelli chocolate squares except even better (and vegan). These were quite pricey, but something I thought was well worth it! 

3. I joined "the flock"

As someone who has been vegan for over a year now and has settled into the ways of vegan eating with very little trouble, I have been interested in exploring the broader implications of eating the way I do and living as a vegan. 

Along this journey I have been trying to move all my purchases, especially those non-food related, away from those involving animals to come more in line with my dietary choices. While I think it is relatively easy to eat a vegan diet and know if what I am eating contains animals products, the content and production processes of other products is much less transparent. These desires led me to the wonderful organization Our Hen House, which is a nonprofit aimed to "change the world for animals" through inspiring, humorous, and thought-provoking multimedia resources such as podcasts and their online magazine. 

This resource and the wealth of information I have been finding has been so inspiring and helpful, and as it is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization I decided to give back and become a donor! Through becoming a donor and thus joining "the flock,"  I also received a couple awesome gifts, namely the documentary Vegucated and the book Defiant Daughters

I have actually already seen Vegucated, a wonderful and interesting film, and am excited to start Defiant Daughters! If you are vegan and looking for a great resource, I highly recommend checking out Our Hen House, their podcasts have made my bus ride to school extremely enjoyable! 

(To all my non-vegans out there, since I know that most reading this are likely not vegan, I encourage you to check this out as well, although I may recommend other resources if you are interested in learning more about veganism, as this may not be the best jumping off point. For example, come watch Vegucated with me or check it out through the many online ways of accessing it!)

4. Vegetable art

At the farmer's market this weekend, where I again bought a bountiful amount of kale, there was an awesome sculpture made out of beans! It was to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the market and was made of beans, foam, and chicken wire. Check it out!

5. New shoes

As a birthday gift I received a Nordstrom gift card, helping me buy a beautiful new pair of shoes!

These will surely become a staple in my footwear collection as my other pair of keds are worn close to daily! I also plan on picking up a couple more pairs of colorful laces, because why not?!

6. Stubborn-ness 

While I have never considered myself a stubborn person (although who knows, this may be a vice hidden to me!), I am apparently quite stubborn when it comes to buying plants. I have bought and killed, both through under and over watering, many many plants, and yet they always call out to me when I see them at the store! And when I saw these I just couldn't resist.

I have always had a weakness for gerbera daisies and they are!

Alright! That's a lot of love for the day!

I hope you all have had a wonderful Monday and have a lot to love as well!

Friday, August 2, 2013

My Favorite Snack: Peanut Butter Cup Apple Slices

It is a rainy Friday here in Seattle which, for the second day in a row, ruined my plans to spend my free time getting some natural vitamin D. Luckily, I have been finding myself surprisingly productive on this rainy day and as such, I thought it would be a great time to share my favorite snack!

Now, I am really not one for favorites. If someone were to ask me what my favorite fruit is, my answer would probably be along the lines of "Mango, NO apple, NO blueberries...WAIT or watermelon." The same goes for essentially anything else. If people ask, I'll tell them my favorite color is purple, but actually? How could I choose among all the wonderful colors out there!
There's no way!
However, I can definitely say that this is my favorite snack, and that's really saying something!

Peanut butter cup apple slices:

  • 1 apple of choice
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter (other nut butters are also delicious)
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon sweetener (my favorites are agave nectar and maple syrup)

  1. Mix everything except apple together until it forms a creamy consistency, much like nutella. 
  2. Slice apple, I like to slice it in really thin slices. It's so much fun!
  3. Dip apple slices in spread and enjoy!
So much yummy going on!
I love having this snack at any time, it never fails to satisfy. It is also great because as someone with a real weak spot for chocolate, I can enjoy this with much less sugar and without that sick feeling I get when I've had just a little too much of those chocolate chips. 

What about you, do you have any favorite snacks?

 Happy Friday!