Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Day 45 - The Things You Find

I have been a bad blogger. I require a flogger. Maybe I should just play Frogger. Okay, I'm finished.

A little over 1 week ago, one of my precious rats died a horrible death in my arms, and in the last few weeks, my father, who had a terrible stroke last June has mentally become considerably worse. Thems my excuses. I have been emotionally drained and on many days have not even turned on the computer.

But! I have not been a bad vegan. In fact, I am loving this third round at veganism! I have not given into cravings but have had to stretch my thinking and use more creativity.

There are so many products I never knew existed!! The daily staples I have down; fresh organic fruits and veggies, tofu, beans, brown rice, meatless meat substitutes, etc. But there are a few things...comfort foods....I never knew existed.

I was wandering around the store one day and thought, why isn't there a ready made vegan pot pie....and then there it was! Amy's Organics makes a killer vegan pot pie. And, bam! one less excuse to give into non-vegan cravings.

Also, when I get my period, and only then, I have insane cravings for milk chocolate. As a half-assed baby vegan I would allow such indulgences. But now that I am budding into a teenage vegan, I would never do such a thing. So, one night, my lovely husband and I started our search for a vegan chocolate indulgence. I know that online and in Los Angeles there are vegan chocolatiers, but this was an urgent need!!

My husband was such a doll, would not give up hope, and did manage to find a vegan dark melting chocolate. I thought, what the hell I'll try it. As we left the store, we saw a Guatemalan place across the street which serves fresh fruit plates and smoothies etc. We ventured over there and decided on a mix of bananas, apples, strawberries, papaya and pineapple. That night, I had the most decadent and satisfying chocolate-covered fruit.

That again was another amazing turning point for me. Being a food addict, I had the mind set that the only things that are tasty are also naughty..i.e. processed junk food. Those lovely pieces of fruity and chocolaty indulgence were sooooooooo much more delicious than any other milk chocolate I have ever had.

It is so freeing to be 100% vegan, I feel no guilt. I can breathe easier. I cannot express how wonderful it is for me to discover how truly easy it is to be vegan!

Day by day, the cravings seem to go away and little windows open to show me better ways to live...and on some days, doors open, and my life changes permanently.

I can't wait to see what else I find on this great journey!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Day 31 - Vegan Girl Out in the World

I had a friend visit for a week, and had my first long term challenge of eating vegan in "real world" situations. And thanks to foodeater, and Carynne who left two of the greatest suggestions to help me in my journey, I had a wonderful experience!!

When I went to Disneyland, I brought a delicious vegan sandwich (the people at my table said the sandwich looked better than their Disney food...Ha!) and I bought some fresh fruit. For snacks I had fruit leather, edamame, and fresh fruit. Then! Dinner came and I remembered the comment you left, foodeater! I looked up the email on my PDA, and proceeded to march us over to the Royal Street Veranda in New Orleans Square AKA the bread bowl place. The vegan gumbo was so delicious, and I didn't feel
deprived at all! You completely saved me! I spent 14 hours at Disneyland, and felt completely satisfied and did not crave any of the non-vegan foods there!

This was a HUGE turning point for me. I feel like I am truly changing. Not only that, I didn't shove any junk into my face, and feel tired, sluggish and ill later. I felt like I was above all the junk in an elite group of conscious eaters...not at all in a pompous way, but in a freeing way.

Food has always controlled me....well, I let it control me. And now, I feel I am in complete control over my food. Who knew that deciding to become vegan would inadvertently start curing my food addiction!!!

Thank you also to Carynne for the pizza suggestion. I never thought about asking for cheeseless pizza and adding more veggies! I can't wait to try it. You have also expanded my horizons in this vegan journey!

Every day I see how easy it is to be vegan! I feel like I can conquer the world!....or at least a dinner out. :)

Thank you!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Day 24 - Dining with Omnivores

A dear friend of mine is here from out of town, and because of this, we have been eating out every night since Tuesday.

I met him at the emergency evacuation animal shelter in Louisiana which was set up hours after Katrina. I was the animal loving hippie who raced to Louisiana from California days after the hurricane, and he was the trucker from Michigan who was hired by FEMA to bring us water. We formed a fast friendship. He is a meat and potatoes man, but is very understanding of my vegetarianism and now veganism. Where we met pretty much explained my eating choices, so he got it from the first day.

So, during his visit we go out to eat, and he has his hamburgers and whatnot and I eat salad with vinaigrette.....and a potato.

I'm going crazy!!!! What do vegans eat in regular restaurants?!?!?!

I carry my roasted edamame in the car and eat them on the way to the restaurant in order to get my protein, but once I'm there everything is suspect, and I don't want to "accidentally" eat butter or some other animal product. Even at Soup Plantation I had the very nice soup chefs let me read the ingredients to the soups.

Is there a go-to dish for vegans? Anyone have any suggestions?

Tomorrow I'm taking him to a Thai Restaurant that has a vegan menu, so I know I will be able to eat something nutritious and filling. The next two days we'll be a Disneyland, and I've already decided I am packing my own breakfast, lunch and dinner and bring some fruit leather and roasted edamame. I'm not getting stuck in that junk food hell with no vegan munchies.

But what to do after that?

I just figured that I would excuse myself from the whole "omnivore dining culture" and only have to go to non-vegan restaurants every once in a while, but I never figured that I would be in a situation where I would be faced with a solid week of eating out at meaty restaurants.

I need help. I know there is some menu choice I am not being creative enough to see. I feel like such a noob.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Day 22 - Cheese, Notorious Cheese!

I had terrible cheese cravings last night. I think it's because I am under an amazing amount of stress and my food addiction is kicking into high gear. I started feeling deprived, like I was somehow going to go crazy if I didn't eventually get to indulge in dairy. I know it sounds so crazy, but this sickness my brain has, this addiction, is what I need to heal.

Last night I saw what was happening to me, and I knew the outcome if I let this go unchecked for a few days or weeks...which would be a secret bean and cheese burrito or some god awful junk food binge which would leave me feeling unbearably guilty and sufficiently punished.

Instead of just trying to overcome it, I talked to my husband. I told him of this addiction and how it is in overdrive. He immediately asked me if I had the makings of vegan mac and cheese, and I didn't...but this was really a wake up call.

I realized that I constantly am trying to sate myself with false dairy...which will never work. I instead told him that what I needed was a pilgrimage to Whole Foods. I decided that I will go get my favorite vegan fruits and soy yogurt, hummus, some vegan chicken salad, and maybe a slice of the great vegan pizza they make.

I need to reprogram my brain.

I remember how junk food tastes, but it is a thing of my past. Today, and just today, I was able to stop this self destructive path but reminding myself how delicious vegan food is....NOT animal product substitutes, but wholesome vegan food, and then telling myself that this is what I eat now, and the other is not an option anymore.

This might seem like a person lost in the useless minutia of life, but to me unraveling this food addiction is the key. It is what I must do, or else I will excuse myself into poor health, a fat body, and a diet full of cruelty.

But today, I am victorious!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Day 17 - Colon Cleansing

I am so enamored with being a crunchy vegan....this journey has inspired me. And, being the brave pioneer I am, I decided this would be the perfect time to do a serious deep cleansing of my colon.

Thrilling, I know....but the thought of all those animal products parked in my processing tubes makes me feel like I am very toxic and unhealthy. Also, I have never followed a colon cleanse with strictly vegan food, so I am very excited to see what my energy levels will be like during and after.

Now, I am not new to the gentle yet pungent art of colon cleansing. As I teenager, I went to the Optimum Health Institute near San Diego, CA, several times, where we would eat raw vegan foods and do daily cholemas or colonics with shots of wheat grass. Yes, I was the only 16 year old I knew with my very own cholema board and rope strainer. I was very popular.

Over the last 10 years or so I have done several Dr. Schulze colon cleanses, but I just refuse to do colonics/cholemas anymore. I was always taught that you can never do any serious colon cleansing without the water in the booty treatments, so I always felt like I was doing a half-assed job. In an attempt to put my whole ass on the line....wacka wacka... I have tried Dr. Schulze's colon cleanse with the master cleanse, colon cleanse with raw foods....etc., etc. I have gotten decent results...definitely some old fecal matter, but nothing to fish out of la toilette and post on myspace.

This time, however, I have found a 90 day cleanse with all natural ingredients, AND! easy as pie to follow. Just 2-4 capsules in the morning depending on where you are in the cleanse....followed by a fiber shake which has the slight aftertaste of stevia and banana, and a cup of tea at night.

The testimonials are amazing!!

*WARNING* Graphic poop content...not for those with weak stomachs. 1 of this 90 day adventure. I hope to be offended and pleased at the results.

Mazel Tov!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Day 15 - Just Keep Swimming...

"Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming....oh how I love to swim, swim, swim." ~ Dori

And I agree! Holy goggles, Batman! I love to swim.

I used to swim competitively as a child, and never knew how much I missed the water, and lap after lap after lap....

Making a commitment to go vegan has taken me out of the world, so to speak. I don't belong to the throngs of omnivores eating out and going through drive-thru's after clubs, ordering pizza, etc. I have completely disconnected from this social thing of eating.

That being said, I am becoming more creative on all fronts. I have a stair master in my house, and for exercise I would walk the dogs, do the stair master, lift weights, It has been that way for at least 8 years.

A couple of days ago I decided to go to the pool. It was so incredibly cathartic. I felt like a child...or at least felt the joy of a child (because let me tell you, swimming is not like riding a bike..I felt less like I was swimming and more like I was gasping for air and trying not to drown). But, I really felt like I had found something I had lost. Something untainted and pure. I can just keep going...lap after lap....I feel so free. I have been desperate for a healthy escape like this!

I don't know what caused this amazing revelation, or what the true catalyst was, but I know more things are coming to me because I am actively searching for answers.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Day 14 - Egg Albumen

Two weeks of vegan goodness just flew on by. I did have a slight snafu, and what would be the point of this blog if I did not come clean.

When I was shopping at Whole Foods last week, I got to the "meatless meat" section, and grabbed what I usually staples. But! I saw Yves lemon chicken veggie skewers and I thought ooohhhh I want to try those, so I bought them.

Flash forward a few days, and I am eating one skewer for lunch. It was almost too "meaty" for my tastes..but it was what it was supposed to be. After lunch, I log all of my food into a tracker (because I am also interested in portion control so I can drop some tonnage), and I am entering the data and read the ingredients.....egg heart sank.

What the hell is wrong with me?!? I usually read everything. I felt so defeated, almost as if I should start my challenge over again. I anticipated cravings and secret cheese binges, but never something as stupid and as avoidable as this.

I feel so down about this. I think it's because I am starting to see being vegan as an easy permanent choice. Now I know it's only been two weeks this time, but something in me feels different. I feel as strong of a conviction about being vegan as I did when I became a vegetarian. So, the accidental egg albumen felt like serious blow.

I need to get over it and concentrate on my bright future of compassionate eating, but I feel guilty and defeated.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Day 9 - Cutting Out the Crap

As I sit down in front of the computer with my bowl of organic fruit, soy yogurt, sprouted flax seed and hempseed, I realize two very important things. One, don't eat a bowl of blackberries, pineapple, and strawberries right after you brush your teeth. And two, being vegan means that you completely change your idea of snack food.

Now, in trying to be less of a fatty, I am eating lower carb...meaning no processed flours or sugars, and I try to get all of my carbs from Ezekiel bread products and veggies/fruits. This leaves me with very few snack options....or so I thought.

The two times I tried strict veganism before, I was looking for alternatives to my dairy-filled yummies...This was wrong! I now realize that to be a successful vegan, you have to remember what you used to love about natural foods as a child. I realize now that I must become friends again with fruits and raw nuts and incorporate things like home-made smoothies, protein shakes, and banana ice cream right out of my Champion juicer(frozen bananas right through the juicer = banana ice cream), like my mom used to make me. I need a rev-fruit-lution!

But, in order to start this fruit-sade, I need to completely change my mindset. I used to exist solely on bean and cheese burritos....well not solely, but I was starting to grow a brown shell and required frequent baths...but I digress. When I became vegan the first two times, I would attempt to get a bean and salsa! not that good. This is why I failed! ~~ AHA you hear the chorus of angels? ~~ Okay, focus! I now carry an airtight container of roasted soybeans in my car, and when I stop for a snack I go instantly for something natural.

I really feel like I am going to be able to make this a permanent change. When I was a vegetarian, I felt that it was a compassionate food choice. Being a vegan feels like a lifestyle choice. I now see and feel the difference.

I know I'm a little late on the bus, and I may be the kid in the back wearing the helmet, but we are all going to the same destination, so thank you for your patience for the slow ones.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

My Love Affair With Cayenne Pepper

I often hear meat-eaters speak about how their stomach cannot handle spicy foods, and how the cure for and acidic stomach besides the money-making racket of antacids is a glass of cow milk.

Stanley Burroughs explained how meat affects the stomach in his book "The Master Cleanse":

"There is a sodium coating covering the entire inside wall of the stomach, which, if it remains intact, will prevent the digestive juices from digesting the stomach itself. However, when any form of flesh food enters the stomach, the meat attracts the sodium in the same way as the walls of the stomach. Some of the sodium is drawn from the walls and gathers around the meat, thus preventing the digestion of the meat in the stomach and at the same time depleting the sodium on the walls of the stomach. As one continues to eat meat and a deficiency of sodium in the diet occurs, the sodium lining is not being replaced on the walls of the stomach. The digestive juices then start digesting the stomach, producing what we call an ulcer. When this occurs, all orthodox methods to heal the ulcer fail completely."

Knowing this, it is a no-brainer why meat-eaters often cannot handle spicy foods.

Later on in the book, he discusses milk:

"Milk, being a predigested food, has been known to cause various complications in the stomach and colon, such as cramps and convulsions."

i.e. milk is a counter-intuitive "cure" for stomach ailments...

Now, for people who have experienced the pain of an ulcer, the next sentence may make you recoil. Cayenne pepper is the best cure for an ulcer. Yes, it's true! It removes the pain almost immediately...and the stronger the better.

I developed a stress ulcer in the months following my father's stroke. I was working 14 hour days and taking care of my father during the evenings....sleeping maybe 4 divided hours a night. I was a mess.

One morning I woke up and literally dropped to the floor gasping for air and screaming. I said to my mother...please dump a load of cayenne powder in some hot water and then drop and ice cube in it.

Now..the powder I was using is 275,000 heat units on the Scoville Heat Scale.

A brief interlude about the Scoville Heat Scale ~~ The Scoville Scale is a measure of the 'hotness' of a chilli pepper or anything derived from chilli peppers, i.e. hot sauce. The scale is named after Wilbur Scoville who developed the test in 1912.

~ A bell pepper rates 0
~ A jalapeno pepper rates 2,500 - 5,000
~ A cayenne pepper rates 30,000 - 50,000
~ A thai pepper rates 50,000 - 100,000

* there are methods to extract maximum capsaicin (what makes a pepper hot) as well as proprietary blends mixed specifically to increase the heat units

Back to the story....

15 minutes later, the pain was gone, and never returned. I took a strong dose of cayenne every day for a couple weeks, and it healed completely.

Also, when my father had a heart attack a few years ago, I made the a similar concoction. Within seconds, the heart attack stopped and his heart was beating strong and steady. Cayenne feeds the heart.

After my father's stroke, I used cayenne to rehabilitate his brain. Now, 8 months later, it is a common thing around our house to ask if dad has had his cayenne....and to know by how "dingy" he is if he has or not. Cayenne feeds the brain.

Cayenne improves circulation, heart and brain function, heals stomach and esophageal lesions, stops bleeding (internal or external), dissolves clots among a host of other phenomenal healing properties.

Always take powder in liquid or tinctures...never is too jarring to the stomach.


Around my house, cayenne is a staple and considered by everyone to be a natural miracle cure.

P.S. I am not employed or any way affiliated with Dr. Schulze or American Botanical Pharmacy. I just believe that his products have the highest potency and are the most natural. Many of my family members have been saved from surgery or sickness by one of his herbal remedies. You can't buy loyalty like that, but you can find cayenne in countless other natural foods/products stores.

*DISCLAIMER* I am not an Medical Doctor, this is merely my opinion. Please check with a trusted health practitioner before using cayenne pepper in high doses.

Day 4 - My Ratties

I'm vegan as vegan can be! No cravings....although I feel like I am detoxing more, and feeling a bit sluggish. I must up my elimination so I don't get too toxic.

On a sadder note, I have two hairless rats. My one love, Nacho, was diagnosed with cancer in December. He is still frisky and doing well, but I was listening to his lungs today and hear a popping sound. That can't be good. I spend several hours a day with him...but I will start watching him closer in case there are signs of suffering.

I have two dogs, 1 cat, 1 parrot, and 27 finches in a gigantic aviary, but out of all of them, and all of the countless other animals I have rescued and lived with, these little rats have taught me more about humanity, mortality and true fighting spirit than any other creature. Nacho is my hero! He will not go silently....he truly loves living.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Day 3 - Dairy Dreams

I checked my email this morning and there was an add for vaginoplasty. Now, being particularly blessed in the sacred nether regions, I could not figure out which email could have triggered an add for such a service. I thought deeply about it for 12 seconds or so, and came up with nothing. It's a va-jayjay mystery.

I had a dream last night that I was at some sort of catered event, and a crispy apple pie was set down in front of me and along side the pie...some sort of cheesecake cream (talk about attachment). Later on in the dream everyone cleared out and I watched myself open the container of cream and start to put it on the pie. In my head I thought well no one will see......but the person standing next to me (who was also me) thought ~ you are still ingesting animal products, who cares if no one sees! Then the second me yelled something like "Don't eat that....You've been vegan for 2 days, what's wrong with you?"

WTF was that? I woke up relieved that I had not eaten any animal products. You know now that I think about it, I had similar dreams about eating steaks when I became a vegetarian. I would wake up afraid I had eaten meat. The thought is so repulsive now.

Dear Vegan Goddess,

When am I going to finally feel a repulsion for cheese and cheese products?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Day 2 - Out With the Old

So I OCD'd for about 2 hours on the format, color, etc, and ended up with the template I originally selected. Grrrr I say! Grrrr...

On the food front, everything vegan for two days. It's never the first few weeks I have a problem with, it's the dairy cravings which rear their mucousy head in a month or so. I'm working on detoxing the animal products out of me, and LOVE Dr. Schulze products for this and other healthful goodies.

Superfood is something I have taken for years full of sea greens and vegan health. It is a powder you can make into a shake, but now it is available in tablet form as well....woo hoo!

Intestinal Formula #1 I take almost every night with dinner...number of capsules depends on the need. It is the greatest daily intestinal cleanser. It can be taken with Intestinal Formula #2 for a full colon more colonics! woo hoo as well. I have great cleansing stories, but I will save the crap talk for another day.

This as well as his detox tea, raw ginger, raw garlic, raw apple cider vinegar, plenty of water = gentle cleansing.

Also, I was looking for pictures to put on my profile/blog, and came across pictures of animals used for food. Maybe I should look at those pictures every makes me nauseous and oh so guilty. But, I carbo-loaded on pretzels, red pepper spread and creamy sheese to stuff -> down-> the -> pain. Glorious, right! :|

Food addiction need food to live. My mother was a severe alcoholic, but was always thin and beautiful. You know you're effed up when you are jealous of another addiction.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Day 1 - With Both Feet

I woke up this morning with Lindt Truffles and a giant Resees peanut butter cup next to my bed. I bought them a few days ago to enjoy them before I started my 6 months of veganism. Damnit! I forgot to eat I attempted to convince myself that I will start last decadent treat.

I didn't eat them...gave them to my mother. Today is one of my best friend's birthday, and I wanted a memorable start date.

But, this highlights why I'm not staying vegan. Something is significantly wrong with me if I am afraid to fail because I will give into my cravings for animal products + at the same time know that animals are harmed in the process of making these non-vegan foods, AND still manage to enjoy eating them.....or allow myself to eat them period!

I am in such desperate need to turn off that compulsive craving for unhealthy foods, and open my eyes to that temporary denial which seems to intoxicate me when I allow myself to eat something rotten....literally.

The two parts of me just don't connect...i.e. the animal activist and compulsive overeater. I must have a diplomacy meeting and make these two hold hands and play nice!