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Chickpea Noodle Soup (delicious, easy, vegan)

January 4, 2018
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Recovering from an American diet

December 26, 2017

This answer to “What makes you secretly go, ‘yeah, good luck with that’?” struck me hard because it’s the perfect description of sobriety vs recovery. And, it’s the perfect description of dieting vs changing your diet.

Modern people with access to bountiful food have a terrible diet, and every single one of us knows it. Every single one of us actually knows that we should eat more fruit/veg/whole grains, less salt and fat and sugar. Lots of people are also learning that they should eat less processed food, and more whole foods.

Diet Illogic

So what do we do? We try food “sobriety”, in the form of whatever timed, specialized diet speaks to us. The logic in our heads goes something like this:

I need to lose weight! I need to be healthier!

Being healthier means more veggies and whole grains and stuff!

…..I’m going to drink heavily sugared, chemical-ed “diet” drinks until I’m literally sick of them!

Alternate, not-arrived-at-via-clear-thinking solutions include crash starvation diets, no-cook diets, low fat diets, high fat/low carb diets….pretty much anything and everything that feels less like a life change and more like a culinary punishment.

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

Very, very few people want you to eat well

Meanwhile, every single message we receive from absolutely everywhere tells us 1) to eat more, 2) to eat crap, and 3) that it’s our fault if we can’t lose weight.

If you haven’t noticed, I’m a whole-foods-vegan now. Vegan since May, and happy for loads of reasons I’ll talk about extensively. But the thing that really stands out to you if you become vegan is how very weird you suddenly are, compared to everything. Billboards advertise nothing but meat. Restaurants are named mostly after meat. People talk fondly of hardly any other foods but meat. It’s genuinely hard to find things to eat – other than lettuce leaves – at any given restaurant, because literally everything has meat, meat fat, dairy, or eggs in it. EVERYTHING.

So, there’s lots and lots of pressure from every corner to eat things that are unhealthy, and that help you gain weight.

Photo by Ján Jakub Naništa on Unsplash

“Eat it,” literally everyone whispers to you, “eeeeat iiiiiit…” Photo by Ján Jakub Naništa on Unsplash

Story time: I mentioned some dish online and tagged it vegan, and someone replied “it’d be better with bacon”. “But I don’t eat bacon,” said I. They responded with absolute horror.

Bacon isn’t life, people. I could really give a shit about bacon, even before I became vegan. Yeah sure, it’s yummy. So is orange juice and vodka, and nobody’s horrified that I’m not actively, at this moment, drinking a screwdriver. What’s with the weird pressure to eat that shit? (I suspect it has a lot to do with collective guilt soothing, as in “I’m doing this bad thing, and if you don’t do it too you’re showing me up!”)

Anyway, the point is: it’s hard to change the way you eat, because marketing and social forces are in a constant flow toward the meaty, fatty, salty, packaged, and terribly unhealthy.

So seriously, how do you do food recovery (and not just food sobriety)?

Well, here’s how I did it:

  1. Education. I’ve been reading over the years, watching documentaries. It helps the idea sink in that society at large is super wrong about food. We’ve also shared this information with the kids, via snippets and documentaries and discussions and more discussions.
  2. Groundwork. We’ve also been, more and more, building up our skills at eating at home, making wonderful whole food dishes – many of them quite simple! (Our favorite go-to meal is canned refried beans on corn tortillas, with salsa and guac and whatever.)
  3. More groundwork. We’ve also done little family experiments over the years – there was the Sugar Awareness Week in 2013 and again in 2014, and the no-packaged-foods September in 2014. These went over pretty damn well…experiments are fun.
  4. Environment switch. I was lucky; after years of tooling around with these things, Meat-Free Mondays, and so on, it was my husband Sean who suddenly decided to go vegan this year. I said, “…..well I’ll go with you!” And we talked to the kids, and the 2 under 18s went with us, too! I’m lucky because we got to change our whole environment at once. I don’t have to fix my own meal, and then add meat for them, or fight to eat well while we have tons and tons of packaged goods lying around.Changing what we keep in the kitchen, and how we go about eating, has made all the difference in the world.

This won’t be the path for everyone. Shoot, you may achieve a wonderful diet recovery without going so far as whole foods vegan, the way we have. But it might help you to know that there was quite a lot of education and groundwork, and that transforming (or, mostly transforming) your home environment is key.

A few extras

Even on days when I pig out, it hardly matters, because I’m pigging out on whole grains and fruits and such. Most days I don’t pig out, though. I don’t feel the need, because I’m mostly off added sugar, and completely off sodas (which make me snacky as all hell).

There’s nothing in the kitchen that’s really bad, so when I go in and snack, I end up finding good things. We just don’t have Cheezits and sugary cereal and candy – all my old standbys – around any more.

Tomatoes, carrots and other veg in a pile

Photo by Sven Scheuermeier on Unsplash

What our pantry and fridge looks like these days…remember that these are the things we love:

  • taco fixings, always
  • tons of nuts and dried fruit
  • tons of different grains, including oatmeal, whole oats, whole wheat, etc. Great in stews and morning porridge.
  • some frozen bean burger patties (I’m too lazy to make them myself, most days)
  • tofu (not everyone here is a fan, but I am) and tempeh (great for mixing in spaghetti sauce)
  • a fruit bowl
  • tons of veggies, for dishes and salads, and juicing
  • taters and yams
  • tortilla chips, sometimes
  • Triscuit (original)
  • popcorn kernels
  • oils like avocado and olive
  • lotsa dried pasta, a jar of spaghetti sauce
  • home baked bread (while not necessary, this is lovely)
  • tea and coffee, soy milk, homemade cashew milk (super easy)

Of course, I haven’t even begun to talk about health benefits, energy benefits, food cost, juicing (not really), and so on and so forth. We can talk more in the comments. In fact, I’ll talk about our holiday meals down in the comment section. I just wanted to hammer out the idea of diet recovery, not just food sobriety.

Online journal 11/10

November 11, 2017

Letters from our Friends

 

 

Talky things

Five Reasons to be a Technology Speaker

 

English without German words

 

Nice Allegations

 

#NiceAllegations

 

Online journal this week

November 7, 2017

I should really use this as a journal, like I do with my tech  blogs. So I’ll post stuff I might want to find later, and that you might find interesting.

Businessy stuff:

  • He started with 1 keynote 5 years ago. Now he’s at 100 a year. His 20 speaking tips -> ow.ly/Uq7A30goxkF @Inc @brentgleeson
  • Inc.  @Inc Why you shouldn’t give your customers what they want (according to behavioral economists) on.inc.com/2zbq4zz 
  • Inc.  @Inc This year’s 9 must-watch documentaries for business leaders on.inc.com/2zvI9vc
  • Theo Schlossnagle @postwait Public speaking is not about novel knowledge or expertise; it is about taking an audience on adventure they want to be on with you.

Eclectic:

  • Katherine Tegen Bks @KTegenBooks If you’re a fan of Agatha Christie, you’ll love @maureenjohnson‘s newest murder mystery series! bit.ly/2znhYE6 
  • REI  @REI Let’s hear it for three brands committed to creating great women’s gear designed by women. #ForceOfNature cards.twitter.com/cards/9vg6e/4z…
  • Graham Windham @GrahamWindham Who lives, who dies, who tells #Elizasstory? @amhistorymuseum does. From Eliza Hamilton to #TheElizaProject: s.si.edu/Hamilton 
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda  @Lin_Manuel Gmorning. Unclench your fists. Lower your shoulders. Step away. Then come back with a clear head, redouble your efforts. I believe in you.
  • Michael Ian Black  @michaelianblack I’ll just keep saying it: The NRA is a terrorist organization.
  • Michiko Kakutani  @michikokakutani 22 writing lessons from Stephen King. via @Independent independent.co.uk/arts-entertain…
  • HEAVEN PEGASUS @HEAVENPEGASUS Why did the nonbinary prospector move West in 1849? Because there was gold in them/their hills. Thank you.
  • Suz @SeaMonketta Hooray!! A real live (dead) @neilhimself story tucked away on Twitter like the best Halloween treat ever! 💀🎃 Tor.com @tordotcom For Halloween we’re excited to share @neilhimself‘s “Bitter Grounds”, a story about coffee, New Orleans, and zombies tor.com/2017/10/31/rep…

I just lost my wallet and started canceling cards

September 25, 2017

And then I wrote my daughter and she found my wallet in my purse at home.

I REMEMBER GETTING MY WALLET AND PUTTING IT IN MY LAPTOP BAG.

I REMEMBER GRABBING IT FROM THE LAPTOP BAG AND PUTTING IT IN MY PURSE.

My very weird memory aside, this has been a good drill. So let’s have some lessons.

What to know before you lose your wallet

  1. What you keep in your wallet. I wasn’t sure if I had one of my business cards (turns out no) or my debit card (turns out yes) in my wallet. Know for sure the contents of yours. (By the way, don’t keep account numbers, passwords, or social security  numbers in your wallet!)
  2. Who to write or call. Mad props to American Express, who let me cancel and reorder a card online. Boo too chase, who didn’t. Boo to me: I should have my “Lost card” phone numbers in my cel phone, not just on my computer.
  3. What systems you’ll have to change payment info on. Oddly, just this weekend I had gone through my bank account and credit card accounts to get a basic budget. As part of that, I wrote down recurring charges on each (e.g., “personal CC, Amazon Prime, $X per month”). This has given me a decent overview of what charges I need to go and change the credit card numbers for.

There you go. Unintentional drill done, lessons learned. Now excuse me, I need to enter some phone numbers into my phone.

Leveling up: “I can’t stand how I relate to food”

September 11, 2017

I was talking with some folks again about food, and keeping weight under control, and how hard it all is.  One said, “I’m so frustrated. I don’t even know how to handle food.” 

I ranted – positively – in reply.

It’s gonna be okay, okay?

This is part of the process of unlearning LITERALLY everything you’ve ever been taught (and are still being taught) about food.

It’s not your fault that it’s fucking hard.

Every single package on every single shelf…every single billboard, every fast food place, EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK is broadcasting a constant message of “you want this, you need this, it’s okay to have this, in fact you DESERVE this…”

It’s. Hard.

It’s not your fault.

Remember that. Remember that you’re in the middle of your level-up. Right now.

I meant it. If you’re having a hard time with food, well, we all do. Because food wise, we’re an overstuffed, over-privileged, and WAAAAAY over-marketed nation – nations, really – of folk. We learned all the wrong things about food, and we learn all the wrong things every single day.

Realizing it is one of the first level-ups. It’s your first step.

Good job, you. You made the first step.

I thought the world was better

August 13, 2017

Did I know there were Nazis in America before 2017? Sure. But it was like knowing there are moon landing deniers: there must be very few, their effects must be minuscule, and I’m unlikely to ever run across more than one or two in a lifetime.

This year, these people, this hate, keep punching me in the heart. They keep dunking my view of the world into slime. I thought I’d act like the leader of the revolution. Instead, I find that there’s nothing of substance I can do, so I mostly keep my guard up. Tell the truth, I mostly hide in a damn cave, trying to dodge the next hit.