Monday, 14 April 2014

Happy Veganniversary!

It is two year today since I ditched eating animals and went all vegan.

Best. Decision. Ever.

I feel better than I did before- no more bloating, constipation, or raw-chicken-phobia-inspired panic attacks. 

I do better than I did before - learning about veganism and factory farming made me more aware of other social issues in the world, not limited to those related to animal agriculture. Accepting that all living beings want the same basic things as humans, to live, makes me feel humble and more connected to others. It's also made me more willing to stand up for myself and speak my mind.

My friends and family continue to be incredibly supportive, going out of their way to make sure I am accommodated when we dine out. 

Never a rolled eye or a "get over it already". They are solid and I love them. Thank you for putting up with my vegangelizing! 

I've met a few new vegan friends who are totally ok with my vegangelizing. We sometimes hang out. It's all pretty normal, ya.

For today's veganniversary I was going to make something super fancy and spectacular and post it here, to illustrate how amazing vegan food can be. But then I got a freaking awful cold, and all I want is soup.

So I made this soup, which I call Potassium Soup. It has lots of potassium in it. I think it's probably good for you and stuff.

Ellen's Potassium Blast Veggie and Bean Soup

1 onion, diced
4 or 5 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil, 1 or 2 Tbs ( I use a little of the oil from the sundried tomatoes)
tomato paste, 1 of those small little tins - ya, the whole thing.
sundried tomatoes, oil packed, about 2 Tbs, or more if you like
thyme, rosemary, basil, and oregano. 1 Tbs each
6 C vegetable broth
carrots, 4 small slices
potato, 3 medium, diced
2 C cooked or canned white beans, 1.5 C cooked or canned red kidney beans
1 C cauliflower cut up very small

4 or 5 C chopped greens (I use a mix of spinach, kale and rainbow chard)
1 red pepper, diced

Saute the onion and garlic in the oil over medium heat until onion is soft. Be careful not to let the garlic burn or you'll be super sorry and the carnivores will win.
Add the sundries tomatoes and tomato paste and herbs and mix together.
Pour in the veggie broth, the potatoes and carrots.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Let simmer for 10 minutes or until potatoes are soft but not mooooshy.
Add beans an cauliflower. Cook for another 5 or ten minutes.
Trun off heat. Add red pepper and chopped greens. I just put the greens on top of the soup and then put the lid on to let them slowly wilt. The red pepper will still be crunchy, but it's one of those foods that are more nutritious eaten raw, so adding it at the end saves a bit of the vitaminy goodness.

salt and pepper to taste.
I throw a couple croutons on top for crunch, because croutons are excellent.
Pour in a bowl, feel sorry for yourself because you have had a nasty cold for 6 straight days, and enjoy the surge of potassium the will make you... um.... potassiumy.

sorry for the poor photo quality. It's good, so just make it and eat it and shut up about it already.

So there you have it. Thanks to every who has been so wonderful to me as I continue to be super vegan and everything. You need to know I love you and that the images of sad animals that I post on Facebook, well, that's not going to stop.

PS. If you are considering transitioning to a vegan diet, or just want a few meatless recipes in your rotation, I highly, highly recommend the new cookbook by Angela Liddon, Oh She Glows. I've made about 15 recipes out of the 100 or so, and they are all winners.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Grump Begone

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Not literally. I am unable to move from my side of the bed because I am encased in animals throughout the night and am pretty much rendered immobile. Oh the looks I get if I have to get up to pee. Such disdain.

So yah, woke up grumpy. Stayed grumpy. There really was no reason for the black mood. Slept ok, hormones are pretty benign, and had a clear schedule with only pleasant activities to choose from.
But go figure nature. I was cranky and nothing I did made it any better.

I treated myself to a rest day, even though running improves my mood, but the idea of getting on the treadmill made me feel like punching Brian in his pretty, pretty face and if I ruined his face, our marriage would be over. So I didn't run.

I had one of my fabulous black forest cake green smoothies.

I curled up with the cats.

I had an epic nap.

But nothing would made my emotional constipation budge.

What to do, what to do?

Sometimes the best way to improve one's mood is to think of things you are thankful for. So in an effort to scrape away the sludge of grump that coats my very being right now, here is a list of things I like about certain people in my life. Not an exhaustive list of people or attributes, but the internet is only so big and I need to save some space for rants about saving pigs and being ugly in junior high.

Of course, I have to start with Ryan because he is the wind beneath my wings.

Ryan: I love the way that when Ryan tells you a funny story, his eyes water and he has to stop midway because he is laughing so hard. He fell in love hard with his cat. He's got it bad.

Sheila: She makes going on crazy adventures seem easy. She looks better in purple than anyone else I know.

Sarah: When we are in her car, she will change the radio station if the music is too alternative for me. She makes the best canap├ęs.  I am so happy we are "fwends".

Megan: Tolerates my endless medical questions. Has the most interesting dreams.  Beauty. Once gave me a medical alert bracelet engraved with "Don't look at my bum".

Bettina: Reliable with mathematical precision. Takes care of everyone. Looks like a silent movie star.

Peter: Stands up for people who often get forgotten. Works hard. Laser eyes.

Cynthia: Knows all my secrets and still wants to be my friend. Graceful. Patient.

Robin: Enthusiastic. Open minded. Likes the exact same things as me. Walks the walk.

Roger: Kind hearted to the nth. Smart and funny. Abs.

Felicity: Goal achieving machine. Makes beautiful babies. Energizer playboy bunny.

Flay: Good looking. Sensible. Ridiculous.

I could go on and on. And I really should because I don't like leaving people off the list, but I have to stop somewhere and plus I feel much happier now.

Hurray for my friends for all they do and all they are and for killing off my bad mood just by existing.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Again With The Running

The thing I like about blogs is that there is no pressure to cater to the needs and desires of your audience. That doesn't mean that I don't love you all very much in an intimate, highly sexualized way.

No. I DO care what you THINK. But today's post might show that I may be ignoring what you WANT.

No one really wants to read a post about running. Again. Do they? Generally people who read my blog respond best to pieces about my days in the band or how horrifically ugly I was in Junior High. Those things are fascinating, to be sure. I  mean, really, really interesting stuff.

But whatevs. S'my blog. And if I blog and no one reads it, I was still ugly in high school. Universal constants. I'm not sure what that even means.

Anyhoo, as I've mentioned, I am back into running regularly and it feels so great to be back on track. I'm back up to between 30 and 40 miles a week - seven months ago I was doing a couch-to-5K program and running 10K seemed like an impossible feat. But I stuck to it, and followed the plan even though I was gobsmacked at how much fitness I'd lost during my (basically two year) running hiatus.

The weight I'd gained is coming off much more slowly this time, but that's because I am eating way more than I was back in 2009 when I lost 30 pounds in 5 months. I've lost almost 10 in 7 months and I'm not in a hurry to lose the last 6-10 lbs. It will happen, slowly but surely.

The thing I'm experiencing this time around is what I imagine must be the mysterious "runner's high".

When I first started running, and reading everything I could about it, authors talked about the runner's high and how it was the best thing ever and dammit, I wanted a piece of that high, but it remained elusive. I figured I must not be running fast or long enough to get the feeling and concluded it was only for marathoners.

The problem was that I was expecting the wrong thing.

I figured runner's high was some kind of psychadelic, tie-dye, blissed out feeling. That instead of burning quads and chafing bra line I was experiencing, I'd be feeling like I was floating two feet above the path like a giant marshmallow on a pillow. Eating cookies. Throwing rose petals.

It turns out that, for me anyway, a runner's high is a mixture of a feeling of contentment, well being and high energy. I imagine it might be what being on cocaine is like, only not as angry, sandpapery or illegally. Coke heads who are also runners, am I right?

When I am running, I haven't forgotten how hard it is to be running. In fact I am almost always counting down the minutes I have left. I have little chants in my head. "Fifty-nine, that's just fine, It's easy to do, it's nothing to you". Ten more minutes you can do it, just ten more there's nothing to it").  But at the same time I am thinking "I'm pretty sure that today I will be able to clean the whole house, make cookies, cure cancer, organize a fundraiser to save all the animals in the world, wash and blow dry my hair and do 12 loads of laundry. Before lunch". I know in my rational mind that I won't get it all done, but while I'm running, I am so brain happy that I actually want to do all those things. Before lunch. Days that I run are generally what I would call "great days". Days I don't run are days that I don't run.

It's still hard to get started. Every time. "Ugh, I'll just do 20 minutes and then I can stop". And I usually end up going 70 minutes. By the 30 minute mark, I figure I could pretty much conquer Everest (North face).

I have found a couple running blogs that I've enjoyed, especially this one. The author is someone I totally want to be friends with because is a runner and she talks a lot about poop. She reminds me of a cartoon rubber band. Yes.

Now I know not everyone can take up running, and not everyone wants to take up running. But for anyone out there who IS thinking of taking up running, I say DO IT DO IT! Get fitted with decent running shoes.  Find a couch to 5K podcast and follow the program.  This is the program I started with.

I have a friend who says he'd consider taking up running once he gets to his goal weight (already lost 35 pounds!). In additions to the fact that running will get him to his goal weight 30% faster, there are other reasons for starting now. And this goes for me, too. Firstly,  improvements will never be so dramatic! And no matter how slow you are, or how often you have to slow down and walk, other runners will give you the thumbs up because, one,  they have been there, and, two, runners want everyone to be runners and are happy to see another weirdo come into the fold. When I started out (both times), I was surprised at how good a simple tip of the head in greeting from a fellow runner felt. It's like a Mason handshake or a secret wink: We're in the same idiot club. Nice to see you.

There will always be runners that are faster and fitter than you. And likely there will always be runners slower and more out of shape than you. The slower runners, more overweight runners are braver than you are. They get the most respect because all runners know that the beginners are in the hardest phase. The starting phase.

This post sounds a little pontificate-y doesn't it. But seeing as I am the boss of all of you, that's too bad. Now go for a run. You will not regret it.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Foodie Not-Friday: Bite Me January Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I lost weight over Christmas. Not much, like two pounds. I rarely gain weight at Christmas time because I am so excited about presents that I lose my appetite. 

But now the holidays are over and, you might not have heard about this on the news, but it's cold outside, and it's time to get back to my weight gaining ways.

So, in order to gain back any weight I might have lost due to greed tremors, I decided to make cookies.

We got a lot of cookies and candy for Christmas, but most of them weren't vegan, so I needed to make sure I could get in on the fattening fun, too.

I present to you these Bite Me January Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, because there are no other recipes for Oatmeal Raisin Cookies in the entire world. At least none that are so disrespectful to January.

I made some adjustments from a recipe here, who originally altered it from a recipe here

They are better after a day in the fridge. Straight out of the oven they seemed too sweet, somehow. And mouth burny.

So, like whatever here it is…

Bite Me January Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

2 C large flake oats, divided
1.5 C toasted walnuts
¾ C flour
1/3 C brown sugar, packed
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp nutmeg
2 Tbsp unsweetened soy milk
4 Tbsp canola oil
½ C agave nectar or brown rice syrup
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 C raisins

Preheat oven to 350. Toast nuts on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for about 10-12 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don't burn, eh? Let 'em cool a bit.

Pulse 1 C of the oatmeal and the toasted nuts, soda, spices and brown sugar and the additional 1 C of oatmeal in a food processor until ground up to a fine meal

Combine wet ingredients (oil, agave, vanilla, soy milk) and then blend in the dry ingredients. Add raisins.

Bake on parchment lined cookie sheets for 10-12 minutes. Cool on a cooling rack.

These were delicious the next day with my favourite tea. 

I had them instead of a healthy lunch. And dinner. 

Here are the cookies being watched over by a voodoo Brian, made for me by my friend Sophia.

photo of Joan Jett by David Shankbone/Flickr