That Vegan Life

In 7th grade home ec (rebranded Family and Consumer Science by that time #politicalcorrectitude), our class watched a movie on vegetarianism. I don’t remember much of the movie except that it upset and inspired 12 year old me to declare my new resolution to become vegetarian. I was even committed enough to get some books from the library on being vegetarian and eating well!  The only flaw in my plan was that during this phase of my life (ages 0-20) I ate approximately 0 vegetables and pretty much sustained myself on fruit, meat, and carbs.  In fact, this foray into vegetarianism coincided with Easter weekend (a.k.a. the Catholic Ham Holiday) and, since I did not partake in any of the side dishes full of veggies, my meal consisted almost entirely of potato chips.  And chocolate.  Because Easter candy… NEEDLESS TO SAY, my first meat free diet attempt did not go well or last long.

About a year ago, Collin and I decided to “go local” i.e. we tried to only buy meat and eggs from local farms.  We decided to do this because it helped to make us much more aware of what we were consuming, not only for our own health, but so that we did not take the lives of farm animals for granted.  We got our meat from a farmer who worked with Collin and we got eggs from my coworker who was living on her boyfriend’s parents’ farm (which was a GREAT system).  The main comment we heard from people was that eating local was expensive and that’s true, it is more expensive.  So we started to eat less meat and we really enjoyed it when we did.  On the nights that we did have meat for dinner, it was a big deal and that was kind of the point for us.  It should be a big deal.  We also tried to eat local when we went out which is where everything got a little fuzzier and where we yielded way more often to our food cravings.  We would try to ask where the meat came from but slowly our convictions started sliding to ordering food with meat sourced from New York or Montreal (not really local) if it was from a good, organic, ethical farm, because that made it okay, right?  Things just started being good enough and we would casually laugh it off and enjoy our pulled pork burritos or McDonald’s chicken nuggets.

Enter, Veganism.  Collin got there first.  He read a book loaned to us by our already vegan friends – Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran-Foer.  I have not actually read the words off of these pages, but I have heard a lot of them read out loud and a lot of the points of the book were discussed at length in our house while Collin was reading it.  I really should pick it up one of these days though.  Essentially- it was the catalyst for Collin go make the leap to go vegan.  I won’t speak for him as to his personal reasons for making the choice.  They are similar to mine, but they are also different.  I took another couple weeks to make the step on my own and it basically came down to this – I cannot ignore the fact that I believe killing and abusing animals for my consumption is wrong.  Factory farming is a horrible, horrible system.  Dairy cows and egg-laying chickens live awful, disgusting, and miserable lives.  Those are facts.  And I can’t and refuse to pretend like I don’t care about it anymore.

The most common reaction I have gotten to my “I’m Vegan!” announcement has been, “wow, that must be so hard” or some variation on that theme.  Honestly, it’s not hard at all.  Not when I believe this is the right thing for me to be doing.  And I believe it so hard.  Yea, it does suck eating salads when you go out with friends  (which, luckily, is not the norm!) and yea, 100% I miss cheese but what I don’t miss is the guilty conscience and the needing the bury my feelings about it whenever I asked for extra parmesan.  And cooking at home is a piece of cake with the internet!  Just search vegan anything you want to eat and it exists.  Trust me!  We’ve had vegan buffalo “wings” twice!

Veganism is not for the faint of heart, I will say that.  I couldn’t have lived this way 2 years ago and I feel very strongly that it’s a decision a person needs to make on their own for their own reasons.  It is hard if you don’t care enough and I can’t fault anyone for that.  AND SO 7th grade Katherine played the long game, who knew!  She and I are very happy with where we’ve ended up.

SOME OF OUR FAVORITE VEGAN EATS:

  • Vegan Mac & Cheese – seriously I could stuff this in my face all day long, guys.  Try it, you won’t regret it.  Or notice that it isn’t cheese probably.
  • Garlic Pasta w/ Roasted tomatoes – I made this on my own the other night when Collin was out of town so you know it’s easy!

  • Pad thai – One of our big go tos.  Also, most thai food can be made vegan if you substitute soy sauce in for fish sauce.  FUN FACT!
  • Apple cider donuts – YUP.
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HELLO.

  • And my bagel recipe that I posted here!

Bottom line, I being vegan feels AND tastes good and I am more than happy/willing to answer any questions you may have.  Also there’s a lot more I could say on this subject so BE PREPARED FOR A SEQUEL POST.

 

What are you working for? More pressing: Why?

I’ve been at the same job for over a year now. In many ways, this is a huge accomplishment. I am 22 years old, living on my own (with boyfriend), fully(ish) independent from my parents. Like, have my own health insurance, independent. Having a “real” job for a year is a major accomplishment and an opportunity that I am very grateful for. But lately, I’ve become pretty disenchanted with it.  There is not a lot of room for growth at such a small firm and I pretty much peaked in the position after 6 months.  I know how to do my job and, horn tooting aside, I’m pretty good at it.  So, I’ve started to have this itch that it’s time to move on.

For a lot of people this is mostly daunting in the “how” category.  They know what they want, it’s just a matter of making that happen.  I’ve been really been stuck back on the “what”.  I want a change but I have no idea what I want that change to be.  The more I sat and stew on this conundrum, the more upset I got- What do I want to do?  Not even with jobs, just anything?  I drew blank after blank and eventually just started doodling flowers in my journal because those feel nice and better than crippling self doubt.

What I discovered, while hiking around last weekend (go figure), is that I can’t pressure myself into figuring this stuff out.  The more I was pushing myself to answer this question, the more overwhelmed and despondent I became.  So, during the mile or so that I hiked by myself last Sunday, I took a breath, and let my mind wander to stuff that I’ve day dreamed about in the past and to things that have been important for me for awhile, whether or not I’ve been aware of it.

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And voila! Here’s my List of Goals to Score (SPORT METAPHOR)!

  • Keep increasing fitness – I am not known for my physical prowess (stop laughing, Amanda), but I have been trying to at least maintain a decent baseline fitness mostly so I can keep up with Collin in the mountains.  Lately I’ve reached a plateau and haven’t been motivated to push myself out (off?) of it.  So, I’m going to work on running longer/faster and on putting yoga back into my routine as well because I haven’t done yoga all summer and a headstand would be a sick party trick.
  • Learn French – I had planned to take French during my last year at UNH but then, with accelerating my graduation, I couldn’t fit it into my schedule.  I’ve  also wanted to go back to Paris ever since I left in 2011 and it’d be magical to be able to speak the language if/when I go back.  Community College classes here I come!
  • Volunteer at an animal shelter – I miss having animals around and I have a lot of free time so, it’s only logical that I spend some time cuddling some puppies and kitties who really need it.
  • Learn about grant writing – Pending investigation, I think this could be a good career move for me.  I love to write (you had no idea, right?) and I would still like to have a job where I feel like I’m “doing good”.  So I’m going to learn more about the field and what I can do to get some background in it.  How cool would it be if I could write grants for animal shelter funding?!
  • Become a master blogger – Not really, but maybe!  I’m going to try to keep writing here more consistently and one a lot of different topics – I even have a list!  Setting out time for myself and this blog has been really great for me and I want to keep it up!  It also means that I need to start taking more pictures because, let’s face it, just word only posts are really boring.

Having a tangible list of things to achieve feels so good.  I don’t feel like I’m floundering and wasting my time.  I have the “what” to work towards and, more importantly, I have the “why” and that feels awesome.

Daily motivation and "take a breath" reminder.

Daily motivation and “take a breath” reminder

“Growth is not a steady, forward, upward progression.  It is indeed a switchback trail: three steps forward, two back, one around the bushes, and a few simply standing, before another forward leap.” – Dorothy Corkille Briggs

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My keychain is from Three Potato Four which is a cute lil online shop that sells collected stuff and home decor along with these key tags.  Collin has one that says “RAD” for obvious reasons.