24 December 2016

Living With Much Less...For a Little While

I just moved across the ocean.  Most of my stuff is en-route via shipping container on some sort of sea-faring vessel.  So for the past 6 weeks I've had what I brought with me on the plane (one suitcase with clothes (about 6 days worth), one duffle bag with dog food, and one foot locker with miscellaneous stuff) and what was "quick shipped" (my bike!, a few kitchen items, a few linen items) and that's it.  We moved into a house last week and have temporary loaner furniture. 

The only things I've purchased are things that I simply don't already own.  A few 220V appliances (food processor, water kettle), dish detergent, and a couple rugs since the marble floors are cold and slippery for the dogs.  I am not allowing myself to purchase things that are on their way simply for the sake of convenience right now.

There are some really great things about living with very little.  There's very little house work to do because there's nothing to pick up!  There are very few dishes to do because I only have one spoon, fork, knife, plate, bowl.  However, I wash that one spoon, bowl, etc. many times each day. 

What I wish I had:

1. Black pepper.  I did pack a few spices but somehow neglected to include pepper.

2. Another pyrex storage bowl or two.  I'm very limited in what I can cook since I don't have much in the way of storage containers.

3. Another spoon!

4. A French press.  I have 2 but didn't quick ship either one.  While at the hotel I had coffee with the breakfast.  Now I can't make coffee.  On days when I go to work (so not weekends or holidays) I stop at the hotel (which is on my way to work) and get coffee (they are really nice and just let me take it...I do have my travel mug) but days when I'm home I don't have coffee.  I am not a person who can't survive without coffee but there's something really nice about spending a whole morning in PJs reading a book and sipping coffee.  Yes, I drink tea but I like to have the option.

5. A clothes drying rack.  I have a condensing dryer.  Most Americans have never seen one of these.  They are small and I'm not exaggerating when I say it took over 5 hours to dry one load of laundry.  It was not an overly-large load. 

There are lots of places to get coffee but Italian coffee comes in very small cups.  As in, Dixie cup small.  You don't have an option to order a super-size latte.  And to-go isn't really much of a thing here (there are a few places but it's not common). Thank Italian stars there is no Starshmucks or similar-type place here.  I love that people aren't carrying around and throwing away millions of non-recyclable single-use cups. I love that a coffee and a cappuccino cost a grand total of 1.45€ (about $1.50). 

I'll be very glad to get my furniture (this loaner stuff is very uncomfortable...especially the bed) and my kitchen stuff but part of me is really enjoying having almost nothing.  Aside from the few parts of life that are made more difficult (cooking) it really makes things so much easier. I've been working on reducing the amount of stuff I have over the past few years.  I have a feeling this experience will result in my getting rid of quite a lot more stuff.  That's going to be a good thing.

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

Healthy

Vegan

Zero Waste

Local

Organic

Convenient

Affordable...

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). 

[Source]


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.


[source]
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?

26 April 2016

Are You Healthy?

According to this article, you are most likely NOT living a healthy lifestyle.  I'm not sure if there is other research out there that agrees with this but talk about depressing!! 

If we are to believe this article, a depressing 2.7 percent of Americans live a healthy lifestyle. There are 4 criteria on which this is based.  Higher percentages of folks meet one or more of the criteria (37 percent meet 2 or more) but more than 11 percent meet NONE of the criteria. 

What did you think about the results? How do you fare? What can we do to improve these numbers?

30 March 2016

So...This....

While this isn't exactly about me is could pretty much be about me.  I had never heard of this but I understand it oh so well! I am sure that one day someone will figure out that I have absolutely no idea what I am doing!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/5-proven-steps-to-conquer-self-doubt_us_56d85e87e4b0ffe6f8e853f4

20 March 2016

Oh So True

Just a little humor that is So. Very. True!  All images from HERE. Enjoy!

I realize the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive but sometimes it feels like they are.

Most of my waking thoughts revolve around what I get to eat next, when I get to eat it and how much of it I get to eat!
Like I said!

MMMMMMMMM...Pizza!

That would be the definition of a smart phone!  If that happens I might consider getting one.

12 March 2016

Plan vs Reality

Me - On a Daily Basis (especially since I mostly shower in the evening after I teach at the gym and then sleep on semi-wet hair...there's no telling what it will look like when I wake up and I generally have a Don't Ask Don't Tell relationship with my hair...I don't ask it to behave and I don't tell it what to do!).
[Source]

I plan my weekly menu, prepare everything on the weekend and have it all ready to go before I go to bed on Sunday night.  My meals are balanced and structured to provide the calories, protein, fat and carbs that I need without going overboard.  However, that doesn't always mean all goes according to plan!

This past week was crazy at work and my eating plan resembled my hair plan. I don't think I got to eat my lunch at lunch time any day and 3 days I didn't get to eat my lunch until I got home from work!  Wednesday I didn't get to eat my breakfast until lunch time (although that was partly because a coworker kidnapped it and then held it hostage (He didn't mean to do this but thought it funny when he found out and went so far as to take a picture of my breakfast and send it to me...I may or may not have locked up his lunch in my desk as retaliation.  I have an inner hungry person and her name is Tyranny...she is not a nice person!).  I posted my WIAW on Tuesday evening because I KNEW what I was going to eat. It did not go that way!


[Source]
Yesterday, after getting home once again without having had my lunch I slapped some PB on toast because I had to take the dog to an acupuncture appt. and didn't have time for anything more.  I leashed her up, opened the hatchback of the car, put down my water bottle and keys, stuck the sandwich in my mouth and picked her up to put her in the car.  I set her down and she promptly grabbed the sandwich out of my mouth.  I guess she thought I had brought her a snack. 


So this was my week.  I felt like one of those pinterest fails I've seen (I don't have (do...what is the correct verb?) pinterest but I've seen the funny pictures of attempts that fell far short of expectation). I will now plan my menu for next week and write up my shopping list, put chickpeas to soak and try to clear my mind of the stress of the week.

How did your week go?  Did you stick to your plan? What do you do when your best-laid plans get hit by a bus or snatched out of you face by your dog?

08 March 2016

What I Ate Wednesday - Vegan String Cheese

Last WIAW I talked about my search for a vegan goat cheese.  I'm still searching. I've tried a couple things out there but

1. they weren't that good and
2. they were very expensive (and I was buying local, organic, fancy goat cheese which was not cheap).

So I'm still not particularly enjoying my salads (they just lack something that the goat cheese provided and if I can figure out what it is I'd be really happy.  It doesn't necessarily need to be a cheese substitute...just something to give my salads what they are now missing.

I also talked about my 10 o'clock string cheese.  You could almost set your watch to it.  I've long wanted to find a substitute for this snack because of all the plastic involved.  I looked into making my own (not vegan but at least getting rid of the packaging) but don't remember finding a recipe that I wanted to try.  Last week I decided to try roasted chickpeas instead of string cheese. I've had roasted chickpeas before but I didn't know if they would be satiating enough.  I'm happy to say they are!  And if you make them yourself (I buy my chickpeas from the bulk bin so no packaging and much cheaper than buying canned) they're a very cheap snack (if you buy roasted chickpeas they're crazy expensive compared to the cost of making your own). There is some effort involved (more than opening a string cheese and more if you use dry vs. canned chickpeas) but it's worth it for such a yummy snack that is super healthy and vegan!

Last week I made them with turmeric, rosemary and cayenne. This week I tried turmeric and garlic salt.  I liked last week's better but I'm looking forward to trying lots of varieties!  I found my new string cheese!

So, my menu this week:

Breakfast (in addition to my handful of almonds on the way to work) is baked oatmeal.  I use soy milk (although I really want to find a vegan option that comes in packing that is at least recyclable so for the time being I've decided to stop buying soy milk...I'll be in trouble come next week!) and I mixed in 2 scoops of Plant Fusion protein powder and some chopped up granny smith apples.  I can provide the recipe if anyone is interested.  It is very filling and can be eaten hot or cold.
These two love apples and are never far when I cut into one. I don't mind sharing :)

Hard to get a still shot when a dog is very interested in what you have! 
 

10 O'clock Snack Roasted chick peas!!! I start with 1 cup of dry beans and that makes snack for 5 days.


Lunch Same salad as always with a soup containing carrots, sweet potatoes, white beans and spinach. 

This boy loves carrots and is always waiting for a piece to go flying off the cutting board!  The girl is not a fan of carrots. However...
She loves sweet potato and hangs out to see if she's going to get any (of course she's going to get some!!)

Pre-Gym Snack Banana (I teach on Wednesdays (and Tuesdays and Thursdays and sometimes Mondays) and need a snack to hold me over. Even with that I'm sometimes ready to gnaw off my own arm on my way home from the gym which is why it is vitally important to have dinner already made and requiring no more than a couple minutes to heat or else I will start shoving anything remotely edible into my face!)

Dinner What I call "Sushi Roll in a Bowl." I love to cook and don't mind things that are rather involved but sushi rolls...I'm not making those at home. However, the contents of a sushi roll (brown rice (I use germinated brown rice...read about it here http://www.naturalnews.com/031148_brown_rice_nutrition.html#) carrots, cucumber, avocado, pickled ginger, wasabi) can be thrown together in a bowl and eaten with a spoon. I add some baked tofu for protein. I soaked the carrots and cucumber in rice vinegar. I add the wasabi to some soy sauce, mix it up and use it as a dressing.  This bowl is seriously delicious!  So delicious that I can't stop eating it long enough to take a picture :D

So, I've found a vegan substitute for string cheese.  Still need something in my salad to replace goat cheese. Looking for a plant-based milk (preferably high in protein unlike almond milk (which I do like and can find in a recyclable container)) that doesn't come in a tetra-pak that isn't recyclable. 

What did you eat today?  Have any suggestions for a salad addition or milk substitute?

20 February 2016

Rest

I'm not very good at resting.  If I'm not doing something I feel guilty about not doing all the things I feel like I should be doing.  No wonder I'm tired all the time.

For more than a year I've been suffering with lower back pain.  I've tried physical therapy (months and months of it) and gone through all the anti-inflammatory meds the doc had to offer (I avoided all meds for a very long time). Only one actually worked and it only worked for about 6 weeks.  The pain only got worse. Finally, after exhausting my options, I consented to getting epidural steroid injections.  Crying at my desk because of the pain wasn't working for me. "Your body is telling you something,"  I heard.

Let me just say that I HATE needles.  I thought I was going to throw up or cry or both the other morning before going to get it done.  I was told I had to rest for several days (normal activities were allowed but no teaching classes and nothing strenuous).  I was honestly a little excited.  I followed doctor orders and rested for 2 days.  After the 2nd day I couldn't sleep last night.  I'm not used to doing nothing.  Even though I couldn't keep my eyes open the rest of me just wasn't tired. I felt like rubbish this morning.  I had to get up and out!

It's really nice out today so I took the dogs for extra long walks and then cleaned up the yard. It was so good to be out and not laying around on the couch!  I'm not noticing any improvement in the pain since getting the injections but they said it could take up to a week.  Or, it might not work at all.  I don't know what I'll do in that case. 

For now, though, I think I'm done resting.  I'm not going to go crazy doing stuff but it seems there's a limit to how much nothing I can do.  The most relaxing vacation I ever took involved running or yoga every morning followed by bike riding along the coast.  That's my kind of resting :)

How do you like to rest?

17 February 2016

What I Ate Wednesday - Vegan Goat Cheese

Goats are vegans, right?  So goat cheese is vegan, right? 

Obviously I know this is not true.  I wish it was.  I'm not a vegan...yet.  It's a goal I'm working on but there are a lot of factors involved.  I won't unpack them all in this post. I am, however, fully aware of the horrors of the animal-product industry.  I've seen the movies. I know the impacts.  The few animal products I do consume are organic and from small, local, sustainable farms.  I'm working on it.

Angie over at Angie Eats Peace sometimes does What I Ate Wednesday posts so I thought I'd do one and talk about one aspect of my vegetarian-to-vegan journey.

I'm a tiny person (although, as I discussed yesterday, not a thin person).  I've heard, "as much as you exercise you must be able to eat whatever you want," so many times.  If Only! 

[Source]
I plan my meals for the week and have to be very strict or I will easily consume far too many calories for someone my size.  Even though most of what I eat is very healthy I still have to carefully watch my portions. Eating the same thing every day for a week makes the planning a lot easier.

I usually take my dogs for a quick walk before leaving for work.  Today, however, I managed to burn my finger while boiling water for coffee so I spent all the time I had before leaving with my hand in ice water.  Not an ideal way to start a day!

I'm a little like Rain Man when it comes to eating.  You can almost set your watch to what I eat and when.  I usually eat a handful of almonds  (I have small hands so we're talking 12) on my way to work which is around 0600.  I have coffee most mornings as well.  I usually use half-and-half.  I like my coffee creamy. I know there are plant-based substitutes but they come in disposable (usually not recyclable) packaging.  I only allow myself to buy half-and-half if I can get it in returnable glass bottles from a local, organic dairy.  My desire to lead a close-to-zero waste life sometimes conflicts with my desire to become vegan.  I do sometimes use coconut oil in my coffee but after a while I really crave the creaminess that comes from half-and-half.  This is a journey and I don't have it all figured out.

At 0800 I eat my breakfast.  This week (I basically eat the same menu all week and I prepare everything on Sunday so that it is all ready to go) my breakfast is a slice of Rudi's Multigrain Sprouted toast (I am not being compensated for mentioning this product but if Rudi's is interested... :D) with a mixture consisting of a tablespoon of fresh-ground peanut butter, a tablespoon of avocado and a half-scoop of chocolate protein powder all mixed with enough water so that it is moist enough to spread.  It's not pretty but it is filling.



I wish I loved avocado like a good vegetarian but I don't.  I can eat them if I must but I do not enjoy them.  However, I found that if I mix the smashed avocado with a little peanut butter then I get the healthy benefits of eating avocado without the avocado flavor.  In this case I wanted more protein so I added the protein powder.  I like Plant Fusion (again, no compensation but if Plant Fusion is interested...:D). High protein, low carbs, tastes good and the price per serving is lower than most with similar protein-to-carb ratios.

At 1000 I eat a string cheese.  I've tried other options on my quest to eliminate animal products but so far haven't found anything that is as satisfying without a great increase in carbs/calories.  I'm still searching.  And I'm aware that string cheese comes in plastic packaging.  Striving for life as a zero-waste vegan is not an easy endeavor!

At 1130 I eat a salad (although today I had a roof inspection at 1130 so I was late eating...this does not make my inner Rain Man very happy).  Again, being somewhat RainMan-esque I eat the same salad Every. Single. Day.  It contains cauliflower, tomatoes, mushrooms and greens.  It used to contain goat cheese.  I love goat cheese.  I ran out a couple weeks ago and forgot to add it to my grocery list.  So I decided to eat my salads without it that week to see if I could get used to not having it.  Then I intentionally didn't buy any last week.  Honestly, I do not particularly enjoy my salad without the goat cheese.  I used to crave my salad but now I just eat it because it's one of the only ways I get vegetables (I'll discuss my general dislike of vegetables in another post).  Dressing I make myself with 2T ACV, 1t olive oil, 1t balsamic vinegar, some cayenne pepper and some salt-free Greek seasoning.



I believe food should be healthy (mostly) and meet the body's nutritional needs but I also feel it should be enjoyable.  There are things I eat sometimes because I know they are good for me even if I don't particularly care for them.  But I'm not a fan of doing this every day.  I'm trying to find a vegan substitute for my beloved goat cheese.  If anyone has any suggestions please let me know!  I want to enjoy my salads again.

I usually eat the rest of my lunch sometime around 1330.  I tend to make some sort of soup or stew or other dish that can be shoveled into my face with a spoon.  I very rarely eat from a plate with different foods sitting there separately.  Everything in one dish works best for me.  This week I have a soup I made with carrots, red kidney beans and whole wheat orzo. 

When I got home from work I took a little nap.  I love naps.  And, I'm almost always tired.  When I got up from my nap I took the dogs for their regular walks (longer than the morning walks).  Then I went to teach my class at the gym. I usually eat a banana on my way to the gym.

By the time I get home from the gym I'm usually ready to eat All The Things so I have to have dinner pre-made or there's no telling what will be consumed.  This week it's quinoa and tofu cooked up in soy sauce and Thai seasoning.  If sugar snap peas were in season I would have included those as well.  I also like to crush up some peanuts and mix those in but I forgot to buy them.  It's a simple dish but cooked so that the quinoa gets a little crunchy and it's super-YUM!  It can also be eaten using lettuce as a wrap but I'm usually too lazy for that extra step. I realize most people would add onions and peppers and other veggies but, again, I don't like most veggies.

I also drink lots of water throughout the day.  I have a carbonator at home as I love bubbles in my water (hold over from living in Europe).  My physical therapist recommended adding electrolytes to my water to hopefully relieve some muscle pain in my back so I started that this week.  I also like to add a splash of tart cherry juice as tart cherries help reduce inflammation.

So that's what I ate today (and the rest of the days this week).  Mostly vegan. 

What did you eat today?  Do you have any recommendations for vegan substitutes for string cheese or goat cheese?

16 February 2016

Skinny Jeans

We had a blizzard here a couple week ago.  The shoveling-out was hell!  But it gave me a good starting point for some lessons at the gym. 

I told all my classes that I didn't care if they ever fit into skinny jeans or what they looked like in their skinny jeans if they were wearing them.  My goal is to make sure they can shovel themselves out from a blizzard or hike to the nearest gas station if their car gets stuck in the snow (I realize most people just whip out their phone and call someone these days but I come from a time when we didn't have cell phones so I remember having to hoof it if the car broke down).  Cardio endurance and core strength were going to be our focus for the week. 

For the record, I do not wear skinny jeans. Probably never will.  Then again, that isn't really my style anyway.  I have thick legs.  They are strong but there is flab as well.  I don't feel good about that but I do somehow like that I can stand in front of a class with my flabby legs and jiggly butt and lead them through a very tough workout.  I like that they can (hopefully) see that being fit and strong does not require one to be thin and lean. 

Would I like to be thin(er) and lean(er).  Sure.  But I do think that sometimes people are afraid of trying a class at the gym when the instructor looks like someone from a fitness magazine cover.  I look like an everyday, average person.  I'm okay(ish) with that.  I do like being the one with flabby legs and a jiggly butt who can do more push-ups/squats/burpees than the one who thinks an instructor with flabby thighs and a jiggly butt can't be very good :p

What do you think when you see someone who isn't thin/lean at the gym?  Do you think strong and fit are what count or do you think it's more important to be thin?

14 February 2016

Who Am I

Hi, I'm Afi.  I love chocolate and dogs (although I don't eat the dogs and don't take chocolate for walks).   I don't expect too many people to see this but I wanted a place to talk about health and exercise/fitness and food and weight and frustrations/successes with all of those things. 

I'm a vegetarian who doesn't like very many vegetables.  I'm working towards being a vegan...maybe.  I'll talk about that later.

I'm a fitness instructor who struggles with weight and likes to eat too much.  I have body image issues but try to be a positive model of strength over size for my students. I also have chronic back pain which sometimes gets in the way of the things I want to do.

I'm just one person with a small voice.  That's okay.  Even if no one hears me.