04 December 2016

Witchcraft Food

I live in Italy!  And Google, in its infinite wisdom, didn't want to let me log in here because it didn't recognize my location.  Very frustrating.  Finally got it sorted out. Only took 3 weeks. 

Anyway, I'm excitedly learning new words and how to say things like, "I'm a vegetarian/vegan."  I'm also learning the Italian words for lots of foods.  Although I might have eaten lentil nuggets with a side of lentils for dinner last night...not entirely sure about that. Either way it was healthy, if not diverse, and tasty.

Fortunately, there's a tiny organic market Right. Across. The Street!  from my hotel.  When I asked at the front desk if that's what it was the guy said, "They sell these biological (European for organic) food stuffs...you know, witchcraft food."  I was a little confused...not sure if it was an organic market or an herbalist who was going to give me a sack of dried stuff and tell me to drink a tea from it 8 times a day.  Turns out it's an organic market. 

A good way to learn new words is to look at familiar products in their packages.

The other day when I thought I inquired as to what kind of sandwiches were available, I realized I used the word for sweet roll instead of sandwich when I heard the waiter say "fragola." 

They had quite the selection of tofu flavors (smoked, olive, basil, Black Forest (not sure what this is) and Red (tomato and pepper) along with plain), vegan "meats" and non-dairy milks.  I don't know what everything (especially the "meats") was supposed to be but it's been interesting trying different new foods.  I don't usually eat a lot of packaged foods but given my minimal ability to prepare food for myself right now, I'm doing what I have to. 
My zero-waste life goal is temporarily on hold as I have to eat out or eat something I can prepare in my tiny hotel room right now.  I can say that I haven't taken a single-use drink container (even if it is recyclable) the entire time I've been here.  That means I'm drinking only water, coffee or tea but I'm surviving :P
I'm excited to try more new foods and to learn the words for foods I already know I want!  We move into a house next week and I'll be even more excited to start really cooking again!!  Stay tuned for new foods and new recipes :D

01 October 2016

64 Cents



Zero Waste





How do you decide what is most important?

Example: I eat a handful or raw almonds on my drive to work.  I can get organic raw almonds from the bulk bin of my favorite market or Whole Foods.  And they cost about $14.00/lb.  No packaging.  Or I can get them from Trader Joe's for approx. $10.65/lb. But they come in a plastic bag.  I'm not rich.  I live on a budget like most other people.  I do not want to buy things in plastic bags. I do not want to spend over $3/lb more for almonds.  What to do?

Some decisions are tough.  Some are easier.  It costs about 64 cents for a cup of raw organic soy beans from the bulk bin.  I put them in an empty container so there's no waste.  A cup of dry soy beans is all you need to make soy milk.  It does take a little time which reduces the convenience factor but as long as I'm planning ahead (and I always try to plan ahead) then it's well worth the cost and packaging savings to make my own.  Then I just put in in a glass bottle that I have on hand and keep reusing. Think about how much you pay for soy milk or almond milk or whatever kind of vegan "milk" you use.  Now think about the packaging; most of which is not recyclable. 

I wish all decisions were this simple. 

Do you have any great swaps that save both money and packaging?

20 September 2016

Eat What You Want Day

Sometimes you want cookies or ice cream or chocolate or all of the above.  I've seen random things declaring this or that day as Eat What You Want Day.  Well, I recently participated in Eat What You Want Month-and-a-Half.  I did this with full knowledge and acknowledgement of what I was doing.  By the way, the new vegan Ben & Jerry's is pretty good :D  I can't say exactly why I turned to junk food for comfort but I made an effort to not beat myself up over it.  I'd like to eventually figure this out and hopefully find a better way to deal with emotions but for now it's a step to recognize what I'm doing and to treat myself kindly instead of negatively. Thinking of myself as a fat slug that lacks willpower is really not constructive and it was great to not feel that way about myself this time.

A couple weeks ago I realized I no longer wanted to eat an entire package of cookies. Of course, I know that eating an entire package of cookies will leave me feeling very  much not well.  But that sometimes isn't enough to stop me from doing that.  I was however surprised at how quickly I felt better after I stopped eating all the junk. 

I get out of bed much more easily.  I have more energy. I'm not as tired throughout the day.  I have more motivation for things like housework (let's be honest, I rarely ever have actual motivation for housework but these few weeks I've been able to get more done).  I don't feel constantly hungry even though I'm eating much less.  My mood is better. So many positive things gained simply by cutting out the crap.

I'm sure I'll enter more phases of soothing myself with food but I consider this last episode to be an improvement over previous ones just because I stopped hating myself. It works.  You should try it!

Do you ever go through phases of eating whatever you want? How do you deal with that?

10 September 2016

Eat Turmeric, They Said

It is good for you, they said.

Turmeric is what makes yellow mustard, yellow.  It is an anti-inflammatory.  So I've been adding it to soups and stews and seasoning potatoes and using it as one of the seasonings on my roasted chickpeas.  What they don't tell you is...

Your fingers will look like you're a smoker

I try to use only three fingers which probably makes it look more like I'm a smoker.

You'll leave yellow fingerprints on whatever you're working on.

The top edge of your pocket will end up yellow as well.

Basically, anything you touch will be yellow.  Don't try wearing white! I'm not going to stop eating turmeric but this is a side effect I hadn't thought about.

Do you have any healthy habits with surprise side effects?

23 July 2016

Silencing the "If Only" - Start a Revolution

How many times have I/you thought, "I'd wear those shorts if I had shapely legs like her," or "I'd take that class at the gym if I was in better shape," or "Oh, she should not be wearing that?"

The pressure these days to have the perfect body...the perfect kids...the perfect life...everything is seen through an Instagram filter or benefits from photoshop. Full disclosure: I don't have/do/use Instagram nor do I usually post pictures of myself on social media but I see social media posts and wonder how people can be so perfect.  The answer is, they're not.  Of course they're not.  So why do we feel like we have to live up to this unreal/unrealistic standard?  Why do these obviously-altered pictures make us feel inadequate?

The amazing Angie at Angie Eats Peace is doing a series of posts about the wonderful spectrum of different people who do yoga.  She asked me to participate.  This included sending her a picture.  I took about 47 and hated them all.  The irony of the fact that I'm wearing a shirt that says, "Feel Beautiful Today," is not lost on me! I took another 90 or so and deleted every one of them.  I have body image issues.

I'm tired of being constantly unhappy with how I look and tired of hearing non-stop negative comments about people's appearance.  Enough already!  When someone posts a picture of themselves and gets comments saying, "If you're over 200 lbs you shouldn't wear a bikini," I want to cry for her and I want to punch the commenter in the face. We, as a society, need to Break the Self-Hatred Cycle for Our Daughters (and our sons). 


Seeing this picture my first thought was, "If I had a flat belly like that I might consider posting a picture."  So, very quickly (otherwise I'd spend a whole day and end up with nothing I felt was good enough) and without even bothering to clean the mirror that's usually behind a shelf (I don't spend a lot of time looking at myself in the mirror!), I just took this picture....curvy belly and all.  I actually have pretty tight ab muscles but you can't see them because, as my Gran says, I'm fluffy. 

It is really not easy to put it up on the interwebs but I'm not going to apologize for not having a magazine-cover body.  I'm going to seriously work on being less judgmental about myself and other people.   The messages we're sending to young girls and boys these days are terrifying.  I can talk a good game about body positivity. It's time to start living it.  It starts now!

If you're so inclined, post your own picture and send me a link (feel free to link back to this post, too). Let's start a revolution!

03 May 2016

Skin Deep

I was in the restroom at work this morning.  A coworker was applying makeup with the aid of one of the above-sink mirrors.  "Don't judge," she said.  I wasn't sure what I was supposed to be not judging.  She explained that she had had to throw out all her makeup over the weekend and so she bought new stuff on the way to work and hadn't had time to apply it before getting there.  I later heard her explain the same thing to another coworker.  They discussed how sometimes on the weekend they might only wear eyeliner and mascara but only if not leaving the house.

I rarely wear any makeup. Not because I'm am super confident about my appearance but because I prefer not to gunk up my skin and mostly because I'm not willing to take the time for it. I never wear mascara as it makes my eyes water so much it looks like I've been crying.  I'm sure there are a lot of women out there who do not leave the house without makeup and who wear a "minimum" amount even if they aren't going any where.  I have a cousin who had eyeliner tattooed on so that she never had to worry about it again.  This makes me incredibly sad...that so many women feel they cannot be seen without covering up and embellishing their faces.  I see women in the gym every day who are far more made up than I would ever be and they're presumably there to sweat (but still won't be seen without mascara)!

I know this is largely a societal pressure that women have taken on and I know it isn't going anywhere but I still wonder if there's anything I can do to change it in any way.  I love the Post Secret blog.  If you're not familiar with it, people mail (yes, using the post office kind of mail) their secrets on post cards to a man in MD.  He posts some of them every Sunday.  This one was posted recently.

I have so many feelings about this...far too many to unpack in one post.

What are we doing to our girls? Why are we doing this? How do you feel about makeup?