Terrible Vegan

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I make poor choices when I am tired.  This was never more clearly illustrated than when I visited my son and his family in Portland Oregon last month.
We LOVED Portland and can’t wait to go back.  It has it’s own vibe.  I can see why my son and daughter in law love it there.  Great people, great energy, great food!  Including an abundance of vegan options.
The eco-diversity is amazing!  Charming neighborhoods, a Cannon Beach day trip that showed us beautiful sea life up close at low tide, a Forest Park hike that led us to a Witches Castle, a short bus trip to downtown Portland that included a trip to a block of food truck unlike anything we had experienced before.
For the 10 days before we left, I ate a raw, vegan detox diet (diet as in how I ate, not diet as in starving myself.)  I felt great.  I don’t think I could eat that way as a lifestyle, but I love how it not only detoxes my body, but my taste buds as well.  I do this detox a couple of time a year and I am always amazed at the results.
Back to our Portland vacation.  Our flight left Milwaukee at 5:30 AM, which meant we had to leave for the airport at 3:30, so I was up at 3:00 AM the day we left.  We arrived at 10:00 AM Portland time.  We hadn’t eaten anything yet.  My son suggested we have breakfast at his favorite food truck,  MF Tasty.  And it really was MF Tasty!  The Chef/owner Eric Gitenstein, is an amazingly creative chef.  My husband (who is NOT vegan) had the paella of the day, which looked amazing!  (My husband said it was delicious)
MF Tasty
I had the brunch burrito.  It was delicious as well!  It was most definitely not vegan.  I could have had it vegan, but I did not.  I am pretty sure Chef Eric would have accommodated my request for a vegan burrito, and as long as he was still able to pile green chilies and his fresh salsa on it, I think he would have been happy to do it.  But I did not ask.  I was tired, I was hungry, I didn’t ask.
So yes, I went from a raw, vegan detox diet to a brunch burrito.  As I stated above, I make poor choices when I am tired.  Not an excuse, just a statement of fact.  This continued throughout our vacation, at the end of which my son said to me that I was a terrible vegan.  He said it with love and humor, but he is right.  I can’t just continue to be vegan when it’s convenient.
As a matter of course, I eat mostly vegan, I NEVER eat meat, but occasionally I consume dairy and eggs.  I am very transparent about this.  I would say I eat an average of 95 percent vegan.  That other 5 percent invariable happens when I am out at an event, or very tired.  I get lazy, I take the easy way out.  But we all know it really isn’t the easy way out, because the dairy industry and the egg industry are as horrible as the meat industry.  95 percent is not my goal.  100 percent is.  But if I do consume dairy, or an egg occasionally, I am still leaving less of a carbon footprint on our home planet than someone eating a SAD diet. I am still having a positive impact on Mother Gaia.   I am gentle with myself, and the next meal is the next opportunity to strive for that 100 percent.  The past 2 weeks have been 100 percent.  I feel great.  I do not feel deprived.  But the Holidays are coming.  My solution?   I will make a dish or two to bring with so that I do not have to feel deprived.  I will take control of my food choices. I will stop being vegan only when it is convenient to do so.  I am very fortunate, my family is very open to trying new food. My goal is to continue my 100 percent and perhaps convince my family to eat less animal products.
 I recently read an article on this very subject, The 95% Vegan Movement and the 5% Exception, by Robert Grillo, written in 2013.  It is still relevant and you can read his article here.  I do not disagree with him.  His article is spot on.  My only comment here is that we need to be patient, encouraging and give a hand up to everyone (myself included)  who is trying to get to that 100 percent, who are nearly there, but may slip up occasionally.  I don’t believe that we should settle for 95 percent, but I feel that 95 percent is a pretty good place to be while we strive for that 100 percent.  We need to be gentle with ourselves while we learn to navigate the vegan lifestyle while ensconced in a carnivore’s world.  We have so much early programming to overcome.  So much familial tradition that includes meat, dairy and eggs.  Many of us are on our way, but it is not unlike trying to leave a cult.  There is so much programming to overcome.  Sound overly dramatic?  Watch an hour or two of TV.  The food ads are almost all meat and dairy forward.  Think of your family’s Holiday food traditions:  Ham, turkey, duck, goose, cheese, butter, cream, whipped cream.  It’s a lot to overcome, so let’s be gentle with ourselves while we journey to that 100 percent.

A Veggan by Any Other Name……

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I recently read an article (apparently I have been under a rock for the past year and didn’t hear about this until just now!) that says that a new class of vegan, adorably tagged *veggan*, allows vegans to eat eggs. How can a label allow this? Shouldn’t our *choosing* be what allows us to do this? Although I was actually intrigued by the article, I have a real problem with this obsession our society has with labeling, pigeonholing, shaming and judging. To *allow* or *let* us include something in our diet implies that something outside ourselves has dominion over our diet.

I know a lot of the vegans are appalled by this. My feeling is that as long as any individual’s philosophy includes eating for the planet, we are on the right path. However that looks for the individual. We are not all at the same place at the same time on this journey. And that’s OK.

I consider myself vegan, even though I have an occasional egg, or some dairy from time to time. That doesn’t make me a carnivore. Vegan describes my prominent lifestyle. Just as I like to enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail sometimes, but that doesn’t make me an alcoholic. OK, that’s an extreme analogy, but you get the idea.

There is an almost militant mindset within the vegan community that is off-putting to people new to the lifestyle. Why in the world would we shun these newbies? Why in the world would we make people who are trying their best to *eat for the planet* feel *less than* because they are 80% committed and not 100%? Let them come in to this community at their own pace. Let them test the waters. Let them dip in a toe, or wade up to their waist, instead of insisting that they cannonball in all at once.

We need to be encouraging, not discouraging. Our planet, Mother Gaia, depends on bringing more and more individuals into a kind way of eating, green eating, sustainable eating. Fae Life mindset means to be kind, nurturing and accepting of anyone doing what they can, in their own way, in their own time, to restore health to body and planet. We need to applaud and encourage EVERYONE, regardless of where they are on this path to kindness. Lets stop judging and labeling each other and start mentoring and encouraging our entire community.

That being said, I kind of like the Veggan (with 2 Gs) distinction.

*distinction* as defined by the dictionary:
“Excellence that sets someone or something apart from others.”

​Fat, Dumb and Manipulated


There has been a lot of talk the past couple months/years of the *dumbing down* of America through fake news, social media and the educational system.  But It’s even deeper and darker than that.  We are being made fat and stupid on a fundamental level, and on purpose.  Our health and well being are being compromised for profit. This is a well planned agenda by big pharma and big business.  And if you don’t believe this is true, just take a look around. 

We are unable to concentrate.  We live on coffee and energy drinks.  Most people are in some form of constant, distracting pain. OTC pain meds take up an entire aisle at the drug store.  We can not catch our breath.  We can not oxygenate our brains and our bodies in order to think for ourselves.  The majority of us are over weight.  Our blood does not flow as freely through our veins as it did a couple of decades ago.  And this is just scratching the surface.

We are being bamboozled into thinking we are being given what we want.

This slapped me in the face hard yesterday when we decided to give cable TV another try.

Holy commercial hell, Batman!!!!

People, just because there is *less* sugar and artificial color in your kid’s cereal doesn’t mean It’s healthy.  It is not *spreading the good* in your kid’s body.  *Whatever froots your loop* should not include ingesting neon colored, highly processed food stuff.

The Greek yogurt you are eating might say It’s organic or all natural, but that doesn’t make it healthy.  *Undeniably dairy* is undeniably bad for your bones.  Do the research!

And that new naked breakfast taco from Taco Bell that has a fried egg instead of a taco shell that is stuffed with meat, potatoes and cheese is not a healthy breakfast alternative!

There is a systematic physical and mental dumbing down of Americans in play.  Keeping us fat and unhealthy is profitable.  It should be so obvious, but we can not see the forest for the trees, so to speak.  We, as a consumer group, need to start making our own decisions.  Get rid of the sheeple  mentality that big business counts on.

Whole food, plant based,  is better for your body and the body of Mother Gaia.

We each need to do our part, one little step at a time. One decision at a time.  We need to stop letting them tell us what they think is good for us, and start deciding for ourselves.  We need to take back our power as consumers by deciding for ourselves what to buy, and in so doing, dictate  the market  in an intelligent manner.

Don’t take my word for any of this.  Do your own research. Read the articles.  Follow the activists and conscientious industry leaders on social media. Watch the documentaries.  We are not being educated by mass media.  We are being manipulated and brain washed for the profit of big business, big pharma, big food.

None of these big business have your best interest at heart.  They only care about marketing to you any way they can.

And the advertisers they employ do not care about your health.  They care about their bottom line and the bottom line of the companies that hire them.

Do I always choose fresh, whole, plant based foods?  No.  There are long days that lead me to the frozen food section where I buy a vegan, gluten free, organic something.  But I choose my brands carefully and I read the ingredient list.

Respect your body, respect your home planet.  Be aware of the true cost to your body and your planet when you sheeple shop.

Peace, love, plants and conscientious consumerism,  my friends.

Creativity is Overrated (at 7AM)

Eating kind at work just takes a little planning, and a slightly bigger lunchbox. 

There are so many convenience foods these days it’s amazing!  You can get already made salad, containers of cut up fruit,  individual serving size cups of guacamole and hummus, 100 calorie packs of nuts, snack packs of carrots, individually wrapped prunes, frozen vegan entrees, the list goes on and on.  I love these things.  They make my life so much easier.  But these convenience foods make mother earth pay a heavy price.  Because convenience leads to gross over-packaging.  

The carbon footprint of a vegetarian diet is about half that of a carnivore diet.  But over-packaging, even if it’s vegan, adds substantially to landfills and contributes to green-house gases and pollution.

The best, easiest convenience foods are nuts and whole fruits. But sometimes I just want convenient comfort foods. Something to grab and go.  GF vegan burritos, individual hummus pack and a snack bag of chips or carrots.  A nice salad that someone else made for me.  Did you know that Amy’s makes a frozen gluten free mac & cheeze?

I’m far from perfect.  I still grab those things some days.  But for the most part, I try to have my shit together in the mornings and put a lunch together to bring to work.  Resuable cups filled with stuff I make or buy in bulk. 

For me, sticking with a similar breakfast and lunch throughout the week, then shaking thing up a bit for dinner when I get home, seems to work best.  I just don’t have the creativity or time in the mornings to come up with something exciting and new to pack. Monotony and consistency help me eat well and take care of Mother Earth.

Here is what breakfast and lunch has been this week:

Breakfast:  2 bananas.

Lunch: a simple salad of greens and sprouts with a sprinkle of dulse flakes, raw pepitas or hulled hemp seeds and homemade cashew ranch dressing.

Afternoon pick-me-up:  A teaspoon of matcha powder and a heaping tablespoon of vegan vanilla protein powder with chia seeds added to my Blender Bottle of coconut milk and shaken well.

Dinner: NOW I can get creative, if I want to.

That’s it.  Simple, boring, tasty, nutritious. One container for the greens and sprouts, a tiny one for the protein powder, another tiny one for the dulse and pepitas or hemp seeds, and one more for the dressing.  Add 2 bananas and my Blender Bottle filled a little more than half way with coconut milk.  Done and out the door.  Most of the time I have the bananas and dried ingredients packed up the night before.

Next week may see a different menu, but I try to keep it simple and consistent.  Mono-fruit for breakfast, something veggie forward for lunch, something light and simple  mid-afternoon, anything goes for dinner.

This doesn’t work for everyone.  You might want more variety in your breakfast and lunch.  To you I say, you have my admiration.  Pinterest is filled with awesome ideas.  Blogs I follow are overflowing with inspiration.  I love being creative and trying new recipes.  But not at 7AM.  For me, sticking with a kind diet means leaving creativity until later.  

Eat

Eating kind, gluten-free and vegan doesn’t have to be hard, complicated or take a lot of prep time.  Sometimes I am well organized and prep food on the weekends to make  weeknights easier. A lot of  times I don’t.

So I try to make sure I have fridge, freezer and pantry stocked up so I can throw something together quickly after work.

Last night’s dinner:

Toasted Mybread gluten-free pita, Kite Hill vegan cream cheese, avocado, chives and spicy sprouts drizzled with Isola Cream of Balsamic Vinegar.

It was delicious!

Adventures in Gluten-Free Vegan Eating (or not)

When I started eating gluten free and vegan, I always had *cheat day* at the back of my mind.  You know, the good old *diet* practice of eating *good* six days a week, then eating whatever on the seventh day.  Except, that doesn’t work when you have developed a food sensitivity.

Hey, if you want to indulge in the *cheat* day, I’m not going to judge you.  But my cheat day turned into a cheat weekend  and, well, it did not turn out well.

Last weekend was rough.  We lost a good friend of ours too young and unexpectedly.  We attended her funeral services Friday evening, and then went to join her family and our friends afterward at a restaurant.  There were enough gluten free vegan choices, including salad and little roasted potatoes, that I should have been content.  But I had had a cocktail, and there was bruschetta.  So I ate it, along with the salad and the little roasted potatoes.  

Saturday I woke up with hives and a very *unsettled* digestive system.  By evening I was feeling better and decided to open up the bottle of wine my daughter gave me for Mother’s Day. (which was very good!)  I hadn’t eaten much, and by the second glass decided that pizza was a good idea.  Not gluten-free vegan pizza.  Full on *regular* pizza.  With olives of course.  Sunday was not a good day for my poor body.  Hives all through my scalp, across my lower back and under my arms.  And, well, many trips to the bathroom. 

Cheat days are no longer worth it.  For me anyway.  The concept of *cheat day* is to treat yourself after being so diligent.  But in my case, I only tortured my digestive system.  That was no treat.  I’m a big advocate of *listen to your body*.  I wasn’t taking my own advice, wasn’t listening, and my body had to *act out* to get my attention.

And I have to wonder, if this is showing up on the outside, what damage am I doing to myself internally?  I am sure the answer is plenty.

I guess I can still have cheat days, they just need to look very different.  Vegan gluten-free ice cream. Vegan gluten-free donuts.  French fries. 

This lifestyle is a journey and a process.  I have an 11 year old granddaughter who is recently diagnosed with Celiacs.  She is adapting so much better than I am.  She is amazing!  I look up to her.  And I can definitely learn from her.

When Gluten Attacks

Living the Fae Life,  kind, green and crunchy, is an investment in the earth, and my individual body.  Being kind to my body is just as important as being kind to my home planet.  Whole food, plant based (WFPB).  I don’t always do 100%, but I give it a good try. Usually.  Sometimes. My body decided I should do better.

Five months ago, over the Christmas holidays, my body decided to communicate to me, in no uncertain terms, that is would no longer tolerate gluten.  I broke out in nasty head to toe hives.  Even my hives had hives! (not kidding!) Through an elimination diet process I discovered the culprit was wheat/gluten.  Beer, christmas cookies, stuffing, gluten laden appetizers, all conspired over the course of a few weeks to make my body rebel.  As soon as I eliminated wheat and gluten my body healed.  Simple as that.  Ok maybe not simple.  Gluten is pretty much in everything!

My large family is no stranger to dietary restrictions.  Vegan, vegitarian, pescatarian, lactose intolerance, and recently, two diagnosed with Celiacs.  I am so lucky, they are very supportive of individual dietary choice.  I have friends and aquantences who are not as lucky, so the struggle to eat *clean* is made even more difficult for them.

I haven’t consumed meat or milk in years, but cutting out gluten proved to be much more challenging than eliminating meat had been. (Have I mentioned that  gluten is seriously in everything!)  It is in the majority of vegan products.  Seitan, delicious meat substitute that it is, is as far from gluten-free as you can get.  It’s MADE from gluten!  A lot of main stream veggie burgers are gluten based. Always a label reader, now I feel more like a Private Investigator!

Pinterest has been a great resource for gluten free inspiration, but I have found that so many gluten free recipes are very dairy and egg heavy.  I eliminated the little bit of dairy left in my diet (the occasional butter and cheese) when I went gluten free and feel a lot better for it.  (Both from a health aspect and crueltyfree aspect.)  Since I decided to eat both vegan and gluten free it’s become even more important to me to eat WFPB and eliminate most pre-packaged foods.  More control over ingredients equals better health for me since I’m not unknowingly ingesting allergens.  (Of course, after a long day at work when I lack inspiration, that often means a simple salad.)

Beyond all this is the fact that “gluten-free” has become such a fad that now I come across as a pretentious hipster when I tell people I don’t eat wheat .  10 out of every 100 people in the United States has some sort of problem with gluten. That’s a number to pay attention to.  Maintaining my wellness is more important to me than someone else’s opinion, and so, label me if you feel the need to.  Keeping my digestive system healthy and my body free of hives wins over anyone’s judgmental views.

I Intend To Eat WFPB, But Life Happens

I have been MIA on this blog since May.  I started a new job.  More correctly, I started a new position  at  my current  job.  I really like my new job, but it requires an overnight shift once a week.  This is kicking my ass more than I expected.  And I am learning  that when I am over tired I make really poor food choices.  Energy drinks, pizza, subs, fast food veggie burgers, potato chips, chocolate, ice cream.  Anything carb laden and convenient.  While fruits and veggies rot in my fridge, I listen to the false promises of sugar and simple carbs with my sleep deprived brain.  Definitely not WFPB.  Definitely not health and energy imbuing.  Poor food choices when I am exhausted leads to a vicious low energy cycle.  I am forever tired and constantly grabbing foods that are easy and fast, putting no thought at all into my choices.

On my *normal* days, I pack spring water, green powder packets, fruit and nuts.  Easy, convenient.  But once a week when I work through the night, and then the whole next day, I’m like a little kid with no supervision.

Food is medicine.  Food heals.  Food, the right foods, energizes.   I know this, and yet it has been so hard getting into the groove of planning my food strategy these past few weeks for those challenging work shifts. Creating my own convenience foods.  It’s not hard.  It just takes a little planning, and a little effort.  There is SOOOOOOO much help out there.  Books, Blogs, Tweets, Facebook pages.  So much information, help, and support free for the taking.  (My absolute favorite is Molly from Clean Food, Dirty Girl.  If you haven’t discovered her yet, find her!  Do it now!  She is funny, authentic and the best support system out there right now.)

I need to be more authentic with myself.  Care enough to take care of myself.  When I live a low energy life, I lose the connection with the Whole.  With Mother Earth, the Elementals, the Fairies.  Low energy habits are so easy to fall into.  I need to remember that self care isn’t selfish.  Being as energized as I can be energizes everything around me.  My environment,  my partner, my actions and my thoughts.  It is my responsibility to be responsible for my own energy, and how it affects the energy field around me.  Fresh start this week.  I will keep you posted.

Products I love

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Products I love: Jason Powersmile toothpaste. Made with good stuff and crueltyfree – yes, it contains carageenan but the company is looking into alternatives and it is SOOOOOOO much better than most commercial toothpaste. Plus, you don’t ingest it.