Life changes, and finding my way

This is going to be a very personal entry for me.. something I am not used to doing. 

Last weekend, my fiance and I moved to NYC from a small town in New Hampshire. This is a huge change for us but it’s one we are really excited about. He programs apps for iPhones and iPads, and I.. well, I don’t know what in the world I am going to do. I’ve been through different types of jobs over the years. None of them were quite right for me. I’ve never really felt like I belonged at the companies I worked for. It’s a bit depressing to think about. It took me years to get to this point where I finally know what I should do with my life.

A few months ago, I came across an exercise on finding your true passion in life. The goal was to write for 20 minutes straight in complete silence about what it is that you’d like to do with your life. At the end of the 20 minutes, you should have basically repeated the same concept over and over. And it is said that at this point, you will be in tears. I didn’t complete this exercise because I kind of already knew what I wanted. I just didn’t have the opportunity in NH. What I want is to help change the lives farm animals, and change the way humans view animal products. Every time I see farm animals being abused or inhumanely slaughtered, I get emotional. And seeing others fight for their well-being makes me emotional too.  I don’t believe in mass-produced meat & dairy. I don’t agree with confining animals to small cages, in filthy places. I don’t agree with the cruelty. And I don’t believe we need to consume animal products to be healthy. I think they make us unhealthy.

I’m a little lost right now. I’ve applied to Mercy for Animals, and the WSPA. Both are great organizations, fighting for animal rights in different ways. I personally would love to work for MFA because I love how smart their marketing techniques are and I love that they’re not aggressive. Maybe some day I will be lucky enough to work with them. I think my voice will be heard through them because they are a well-known organization and have made quite an impact through web marketing. But at this point, I am just one person and can’t make a big difference on my own. I have managed to convert a few people in my life to vegetarianism, and I am very grateful to have that experience.

I don’t know.. for now I am making a difference any way that I can think whether it’s sharing books or documentaries on the treatment of animals for consumer products or just through talking. When the time is right, a huge opportunity will be available to me. 

Check in, raw vegan, and shark finning

Well… it’s been quite a long time since I’ve written on here. I sometimes find it hard to write for people that I don’t know.. or maybe it’s pointless and I’m just writing for myself. But either way, I wish to share the things that I know and learn about health and food. I’ve lost a lot of weight over the years, and experimented with different diets and now I think I’m getting to where I want to be.

I’ve been experimenting with a raw vegan diet, after reading the book 80/10/10 and exploring 30bananasaday.com. I know that my friends and family will think I’m crazy for trying something that may seem extreme to them, but I would hope at this point they know me well enough and expect me to do this. I get all the questions like how do you get enough protein? Or how do you get enough calories? And then I think about how I’ve never actually met someone with a protein deficiency. In fact, I think the only way to be protein deficient is if you’re not eating at all and you become frail. I am eating over 1,700 calories on this diet, it’s just that I’m eating a lot of raw fruits and veggies. I slipped up for  a few days while on vacation. I ate a lot of pizza, chips, had too much wine, and sweets. And within 2 days I was getting lots of headaches, feeling so sluggish, and (sort of tmi) but I was blocked up. I like to be regular and drop the kids off at the pool at least 2x a day! When I can’t go even once, I get a little cranky lol. So now I’m home, I’m back to my raw food, and I feel so much better. I’m more alert, happier, and very regular. But what I really like about this diet are two things – 1. I can eat a ton of food and it’s not going to make me fat or sluggish, 2. It just seems natural. If we were living in the wild without tools or fast food, we wouldn’t be eating french fries even if they are vegan. We wouldn’t be eating rice, or bread. Rice cakes wouldn’t exist. We would be eating lots of fruit because it’s easy to obtain and eat, some leafy veggies, some carrots, and the occasional pure and fresh meat that isn’t loaded with chemicals. I choose not to eat meat for ethical reasons.

So I’m thinking about how animals are treated and I remembered that I recently heard about shark finning. That’s not something I’ve ever considered but apparently shark fins are a delicacy in China and Japan. What happens is sharks are caught, de-finned, and then released back into the ocean to struggle and die. Can you imagine if someone caught you, sliced your arms off and then just left you? It would be terrifying. It would be so painful. And you wouldn’t be able to survive unless you made it to the hospital. Unfortunately sharks don’t have access to doctors with stitches, and prosthetic fins. And why in the world would someone think “hey I want to eat a shark fin!” I just don’t get it. But it’s happening and it’s unfortunate.

Raw Pesto & Noodles

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This is by far my favorite raw recipe. Although its not raw, I often will add cooked mushrooms on top because I love the flavor.

Here’s the recipe:
2 1/2 cups spinach
3/4 cups basil leaves
1/4 -1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
1 tsp Olive oil (this is optional)
2-3 tbsp water
Juice from 1 lemon
1 garlic clove
3 tbsp of any raw seed or nut

Blend all ingredient in a food processor or quality blender to the consistency you like. Pour on top of raw noodle of your choice- zucchini, daikon, carrots, or jicama. I particularly like daikon because it’s more porous and absorbs the pesto flavor. Cherry tomatoes are great as a topping too.

Abandoned Hen Farm

This is a perfect example of why i cannot support the egg and meat industry, and why I had to stop eating animal products. I have always been an animal lover for as long as I can remember… I never enjoyed eating meat and I remember my mother forcing me to eat it all the time as a child. In the past few years, I started to question why should we eat them, why should we eat eggs. Why should an animal suffer just for one silly meal?? We’ve always been taught that we need to eat meat for the protein. There are other sources of protein that don’t involve harm to animals. In my mind, eating an egg is not as bad – nobody died for that single egg, but obviously the entire process involves a lot of pain and torture for hens. When chicks are born, their beaks are burned off so that they don’t harm other chicks. They’re confined in small cages with little room for movement. They have to walk around in feces. It’s not a healthy way to live. And of course, hens are injected with hormones and antibiotics, and those chemicals end up in the eggs. I once saw some footage from a documentary called Earthlings. When the hens were past their prime, they were kicked and stomped to death since it’s easier and cheaper than using a humane way of killing. They don’t deserve this kind of treatment, not at all. We are all equals on this planet, and they deserve our kindness, love, and respect.

This video is taken from the website of the farm animal rescue organization Animal Place in California. http://animalplace.org/emergency-turlock-hen-rescue. Earlier this month, they rescued 4,000+ starving hens that were left to die at an abandoned hen farm. The farm had 50,000+ hens, most of which had already died from lack of food and healthy living conditions. Of the survicing hens, the organization has been working to find them healthy and happy homes, but they still have around 3,000 hens in their care. My previous job was at an animal shelter, and from my experience I know that a lot of food is required to keep that many animals alive. As you can imagine, the expense is extremely high. These hens require about $300 worth of food a day!! Please make a donation if you can – anything will help and is greatly appreciated.

I’m back! Not MIA..

As you probably can tell by now, I am trying to eat as many raw foods as possible, the majority of my intake being fruits and veggies. For a while, I was consuming more veggies and trying to stay away from an excess of fruit sugars. Once we came back from our little weekend trip, I came down with a nasty cold for over a week and was tired and coughing ALL the time so I ended up adding more fruits (and vitamin c) to my diet. Now I am on an orange kick and can’t seem to get enough! Minneolas, navels, tangerines, and grapefruit. Yummy!

Here’s a little salad I made with sauteed mushrooms, spinach, kale, roasted cherry tomatoes, some other stuff, and ORANGES!! Mmm!

Also, I was lucky enough to visit one of my favorite restaurants, called Life Alive, in Lowell, MA. (There’s also one in Cambridge) Life Alive is a creative vegetarian restaurant with lots of vegan options – I ate ‘The Lover’ bowl, which is a mix of beets, mushrooms, kale, and ginger nama shoyu sauce (made with tahini) on top of brown rice. I always get a calm, relaxed feeling when I eat their food. I just love it!

Vegan Black Bean Tacos

I recently came across an awesome recipe for raw vegan tacos over at My New Roots. I seriously am addicted to these tacos now. I think I’ve made this recipe about 5x in the past month – I love them that much. And they’re so easy to make (as long as you have a reliable blender or food processor). Since I’ve become vegan, I try to incorporate as many raw veggies and fruits into my diet as possible. My goal is to make my daily intake 80% veggies and fruit.

Anyway.. I was craving them again last night, as I often do with Mexican, but I ran out of walnuts for the taco ‘meat’. Instead, I added canned Eden Black Beans for extra sustenance. I was looking for a quicker meal so I passed on the ‘sour cream’ as well. The filling is a mix of chopped veggies wrapped in a piece of green lettuce.

Don’t they look tasty!!

Here’s the recipe- serves about 2
Filling (fold ingredients in a large bowl):

1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup chopped scallions
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 can organic black beans, rinsed well
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup cilantro
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1/4 tsp chipotle pepper, or less if you don’t like too much spice
2 tsp cumin
1/4 avocado
Pinch of sea salt

Wrap a few tablespoons of ingredients in 1 piece of green lettuce, add avocado on top and sprinkle with additional chipotle pepper and/or cumin.

Enjoy!

A weekend away

This weekend, my boyfriend and I went to Portsmouth, NH. We’ve been to Portsmouth before but this was our first time staying there for more than a day. It’s a great little town, the ocean is nearby, lots of shops and restaurants.. A great town to walk around and explore.

Before we left for our trip, I had to whip up my favorite green smoothie – spinach, banana, and blueberries with some almond milk, or water if you want to keep it more natural.

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On our way to Portsmouth, we stopped at Susty’s Cafe which is totally vegan and delicious!! I had a salad with tofu and beets, and the boyfriend had a pesto and marinara tofu sandwich. We actually shared nachos (nutritional yeast cheeze sauce) and raspberry chocolate walnut cupcakes.

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Once we made it to Portsmouth, we settled into our room at the Hilton and had dinner at the Flatbread Company. Portsmouth seems to be more accommodating to different dietary needs, with many vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options. Flatbread Co offers a vegan pizza and gluten free vegan crust. The pizza was pretty tasty! Mushrooms, olives, onions, and tomato sauce. I wish there were more veggie toppings.. spinach for example but what can you do. I really enjoyed the atmosphere so we ended up back there for lunch the next day. Also, they have an organic salad with carrots, beets, and seaweed. I know, seaweed right?? That was surprising. I actually really enjoy seaweed so I was excited when I read that on the menu.

I can’t wait to go back to Portsmouth. The outlets in Kittery, Maine are pretty close by which is great. Rye beach isn’t too far either. Pretty view. Portsmouth is also very dog friendly. BTW the Hilton accepts dogs! Orion will be coming with us once the weather warms up.

Dance Cardio Playlist

I’m always looking for additional songs for cardio. Here is my current playlist. Any other suggestions??

Adele – Rumor Has It
Annie – My Love Is Better
Annie – Bad Times
Basement Jaxx – I Want U
Basement Jaxx – Get Me Off
Basement Jaxx – Cish Cash
Basement Jaxx – Oh My Gosh
Basement Jaxx – Take Me Back To Your House
Britney Spears – Me Against The Music
Britney Spears – Womanizer
Britney Spears – Kill The Lights
Britney Spears – Circus
Britney Spears – Gimme More
Britney Spears – Break The Ice
Britney Spears – Get Naked
Britney Spears – Till The World Ends
Britney Spears – Toxic
Florrie – Left Too Late < I think you can get this on her site
Florrie – Give Me Your Love
Goldfrapp – Rocket
Goldfrapp – Twist
Goldfrapp -Beautiful
Gorillaz – Dare
Gorillaz – Feel Good Inc
Heart – Barracuda
Husky Rescue – We Shall Burn Bright
Lady Gaga – Just Dance
Lady Gaga – The Edge of Glory
Lady Gaga – Bad Romance
Lady Gaga – Telephone
Lady Gaga – Hair
Maroon 5 – Moves Like Jagger
Nelly Furtado – Maneater
Rihanna – Don’t Stop The Music
Rihanna – Disturbia
Shiny Toy Guns – Burning For You
Shiny Toy Guns – Major Tom
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Zero
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll

What’s for dinner?

I was lucky enough to get a Cuisinart 14 cup food processor for Christmas. The thing is amazing. I use it nearly every day. It just makes my meals so much easier.

One of my favorite meals to whip up with this food processor is veggie noodles & tomato sauce. Tonight is shredded zucchini and daikon, although you can use any veggie you want.. carrots, jicama, butternut squash.. The sauce is blended tomatoes and garlic with nama shoyu. Sometimes I’ll add thyme and oregano. A little bit of Daiya cheese adds extra flavor. If you’re vegan and like cheese substitutes, make sure it doesn’t have casein added in. (Casein is a protein found in cows milk that is linked to cancer)

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I realize how nasty this sauce looks lol but I promise you it is tasty! I don’t have a fancy dslr to take pics. Just using the iPhone for now.

I’m off to do day 3 of level 5 of Tracy Anderson’s Continuity 🙂