Monday, January 30, 2012

A Life Connected : Vegan

I saw this great 12 minute video and it really says it all for me.
http://vimeo.com/13317130
It is brought to you by NonvilolenceUnited.org.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Amazing Kale Salad

I had this aptly named Amazing Kale Salad tonight and I just HAD to share!  It is raw vegan but honestly it would be REALLY good with a steak and some red wine!  I did made a few changes and I feel it is important to note them as I am finding that making changes in vegan food is not always as successful as it is with regular food.

SO, the changes and notes:

In the pic it appears she used curly kale so that is what I used despite her not listing it.  Dinosaur kale (aka Lacinato Kale which has flater and has larger leaves), to me anyway, has a very different taste.  I LIKE it but it is different so I am just pointing it out.

I used kosher salt because that is what I had.  I used bottled OJ and  I used raw almonds for the same reason. I left out the raisins because I don't like them although I think the texture would be really nice - I may try craisins some time. I always use Organic Shoyu Soy Sauce and I know from experience that it is stronger than normal soy sauce so I used just a smidge less (yes, this is my exact measurement!) I think there could have been more red onions, perhaps another tbsp or 2 however, it was nice amount if you are

Anyway, this is a MUST TRY!  I am sure this would be great as a potluck dish too!

~Reduce, ReUse, Recycle and Rejoice!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Accountability

Sadly, I have done horribly in my attempts to go vegan.  I have done OK at home but I have been at my friend's for dinner a lot and have also cheated a few times - McDonald's french fries!!  (If you don't understand why that is cheating, let me know and I will give you the nasty details!)  As I mentioned in a previous post, I think this is why they recommend going cold turkey.  I have actually GAINED weight!

SO, starting today, I will:
Either offer to cook or bring my own food when going to friends' homes.
Limit myself to 1 piece of bread a day.
Log all of my food into My Fitness Pal. (there is a weight loss tracker in the side bar ------>)
Make my 20 mins. outside (except in bad weather) a MOVING 20 mins - not necessarily "exercise", can be yard work, etc.

I think this is a start.  I know my problem areas are lack of exercise and bread/wheat products.  Although my friend has been trying very hard to not make meat on the nights I come over, she will make 2-3 sides of carbs.  Healthy eating is not really a concern for her and she has a house full of teen-aged boys eating everything in their path so I am not going to try to push my nutritional thoughts on her.

On a completely different subject, while I was at her house last night, she had a plumber there for a stopped up kitchen sink.  The plumber had to pull everything out from under the sink.  After he left, while she was putting things back, she cleaned some of her supplies out.  She had some trash bags that didn't fit any of her containers anymore, she had a few cleaners that she didn't use.  I took a few off her hands - better in my use that in a landfill.  It got me thinking that most people probably have a lot of things under the sink that they don't use.  So my challenge to you is this:  clean out under your sink (or where you keep your cleaning supplies) and find new homes for the things you don't use.  I am going to do this but honestly, I keep mine paired down pretty tight.  I don't buy many cleaners - I use baking soda and vinegar for A LOT.  I will share my findings in a few days.  I would love to hear what you find/get rid of and where it goes.

~Reduce, ReUse, Recycle and Rejoice!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Forks over Knives

I watched the "Forks Over Knives" documentary (available for instant play on Netflix) today while I was working.  It is just incredible to me the information that is available, but not widely known, here in the US.  I HIGHLY recommend watching this.
On a personal note, my attempts at a vegan (or "plant based based" as FOK calls it) has been difficult.  I have not been eating at home much and the co-habitant it on his "eat meat and pork rinds and nothing else diet" so I have struggled a bit.  The meals I have made for myself have all been vegan but they only account for about half of my intake.  I am beginning to see why successful vegans are all or nothing.
~Reduce, ReUse, Recycle and Rejoice!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Recycle Last

I friend living in another area said to me, "Before we moved, I recycled all the time but there is no recycling program in my area anymore and it is just too much of a pain to do it now."   I COMPLETELY understand this feeling and often wonder it I would make the effort if the city wasn't meeting me half way with recycle pick up. The retired woman next door brings her cans and bottles in for the CRV (California Redemption Value) but doesn't recycle anything else.  She says that she say on the news that most of  the commingled recyclables are thrown away anyway. I looked but never found anything online to substantiate this claim but lets, for the sake of today's blog, assume that is true.  SO WHAT?  Really, so what?  Trash is trash, even if we are calling it "recyclable".  It is still a discarded waste product.  We should be doing everything we can to keep them from going into recycling to begin with.

At the bottom of every post I "write" ~ Reduce, ReUse, Recycle and Rejoice.  Is this my attempt at subliminal messaging?  Ok, maybe it isn't all that "subliminal", but I do hope it is something you take with you.  Every day we use products, some are one use, disposable products, some we use for years, some we pass from generation to generation.  HOW we acquire these products and HOW we use them is just as important as how we dispose of them.

Reduce the amount of stuff you buy.  Americans are the WORST with over consumption.  We have to have everything we see, even if we don't see for years after the initial purchase because it was buried in a closet full of clothes that don't fit.  But, it isn't all our fault.  The manufacturers INTENTIONALLY make products disposable so that you will buy a new phone every year and a new computer after 2 years.  I have 2 computers.  I have a 10 lb. brick Windows '98 computer that I still use regularly.  It has expensive programs on it that, due to technology limitations of the time, I can't remove and put on my "newer" computer.  A friend gave me an older computer to replace the Win. '98 when I could no longer get an antivirus and was afraid to go onto the Internet with it.  The newer one, the one I am typing on now is Win. XP.  I have had it for 5 or 6 years now, my friend gave it to me because she had already upgraded twice since putting it aside(so that makes it what, 10 years old??).  It works fine despite my dumping a glass of juice into the key board a few years ago - so I type a few stokes slower because of it. They both still work, I will continue to use them until they won't anymore.  But I have been "eco-responsible" since before it was cool - because I am cheap.  JUST STOP BUYING.  If you were holding the last dollar you would even have in your hand, would you want to spend it on the thing in front of you?  If you have to THINK about the answer, DON'T BUY IT.

Reduce the packaging.  Do you need to put the 2 apples you are buying in a plastic bag that will be put into another plastic bag once you pay for it?  I am not saying go out and buy 20 canvas grocery totes or even the fancy net bags for veggies. Did you grocery shop last week?  Where are THOSE plastic bags?  Most people buy the same amount every week, bring them back until they are falling apart.  On a personal note, the canvas and t-shirt bags I have last a lot longer and can be washed if they get dirty AND when I finally do throw them away, they will  break down like nature intended.

And what about the cans and boxes from your soup and Mac and Cheese? The bigger you buy, the less packaging you consume.  Of course, if the food it contains will go bad before you finish it that isn't good either - find a happy medium.  As a single person, I buy in the bulk sections.  Yup, let me repeat that - I BUY IN BULK. Why?  Because as humans we tend to eat what is familiar.  I buy huge containers of rice and lentils.  But here is a thought for you.  Have you ever made a new recipe that called for an ingredient that you have never used before and don't know if you will even like?  If you are buying "in bulk" you can buy ANY amount, even a few tablespoons.  Some stores even have spices this way.

ReUse.  I always capitalize the "U" in "reUse" so that you realize that even if you are REusing it, you are in fact NOT Using something else.  I mentioned T-shirt bags.  After removing all the size Large t-shirt from my 6'2" 350lb. room mate's drawer, I made T-shirt bags from them. (Sorry for the lack of pic, they are in the car we share which is at his work today.)  It's not an original idea, or Martha's idea, but there are easy instruction on Martha's site, and who doesn't have too many t-shirts?  And, while you are in your drawer, can you wear everything in there?  Why are you holding on to it?  By the time it fits again (IF it fits again) it will be out of fashion - yes, I said it - just because I still wear stuff from the 80's doesn't mean you will - so re-purpose it to something that will get some use or give it to someone that will use it.  The t-shirt bags started for me because said room mate had t-shirts that would never fit him but had sentimental value.  Now he can see them every week instead of never because it is sitting in the back of his dresser.

Recycle.  Well, if you are bringing less packaging and waste in, it stands to reason that there is less out right?  SO, if you have done all that, you will probably still have recyclable products to dispose of, what to do?  Cans and bottles:  Glass jars w/ lids are great storage and wine bottle can be used as vases or to hold homemade oils and vinegars.  Post an ad online to see if someone wants to bring them in - even if you don't have a home recycling service, most cities have a center that will take them and most places will give a small  cash back - maybe not enough to make it worth YOUR while but some kid that can't afford a uniform or cleats may see the value in the trip. Paper and junk mail:  These are great for shipping stuffing (make sure there are no bank statements, etc) just shred and stuff.  Get online and find a local paper artisan who can make it into beautiful handmade paper.  Use the bank statements to start fires in your fireplace or grill.  Cardboard:  There is ALWAYS someone moving and your box is cleaner that the one they would get from the grocery store.  Find a local seamstress that will use the cardboard for patterns. Use it for your child's next project display instead of buying new foam core - you are just going to paint over it anyway. There are SO MANY ways to either use it yourself or find someone who can, why throw it away??  Put an ad on craigslist.org or freecycle.org - there IS someone out there who wants it.

Rejoice!  I add this because if you have done all the above, you should be rejoicing about what you are doing for the environment.  Everyday, you should be rejoicing  and enjoying that you live in a country relatively without want.  Sure you want a new whatever, but do you NEED it, probably not.  Rejoice in the people that you have in your life.  Rejoice over the food and time you share together.  Rejoice that you are not one of over 3 BILLION people that make less that $2.50/day and can afford the hassle of what to do with your trash - the things that life are made of for so many.  Rejoice in the choices we have to make.  Rejoice in LIFE.

Over the next year, I will expand of A LOT of ideas on how to reUse your unused items.  I hope that you enjoy the process as much as I do.

~Reduce, ReUse, Recycle and Rejoice!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Cool Vegan Graphic

Well, V-day is coming and my co-habitant is trying to get as much meat in as possible before I cut him off.  Let me be specific, HE can eat anything he wants but I am not going to be cooking it.  However, since I do the majority of cooking here, that means chances are he'll be eating fairly vegan at home too.  I HAVE stocked up on some sausages that he likes (pre-cooked, full of preservatives, just like he likes) so that he (or more likely I) can just cut it up and throw it into his portions at the end.

Over the past few months my diet has become more and more meat and dairy free.  He has shared in many of these meals and has liked almost everything I have made.  He has added his season salt to all of it but when you are used to eating packaged food, you tend to like things a bit more salty.  Personally, I am a salt addict but I know that is a habit that will catch up with me.  As I have taken all of the processed and fast foods out of my diet, I am finding how much more I actually taste.  I have been backing off on the salt and trying to add more spices.  But, again, it you are eating out and out of packages for all of your meals but one, I can understand why he is salting.  I believe MY reasons for craving salt are hormones and chronic dehydration (I NEVER drink enough water!).  If it is hormones, I will indulge (typically with a large McDonald's fries :( !!) If it isn't, I have found though that more often than not, drinking a full glass of water shuts the craving down immediately.

Earlier today I received this cool graphic in one of the daily newsletters I read and I thought I would share.  I found it very interesting that 48% of vegans make under 30K annually yet non-vegans tend to claim that eating that way is too expensive.  I believe MY biggest challenge is going to be having to make SO MUCH from scratch.  Well, that and fighting the urge to order Chinese food every night while watching Big Bang Theory!  DAMN THEM!

~Reduce, ReUse, Recycle and Rejoice!