Oh no! It’s a VEGAN!

Hello again blogosphere. It’s been a while. So let’s catch up!

Back in when I first started this blog, I began posting a lot – A LOT – about food. I really do have other things to talk about, but food is just so easy. I mean everyone eats, right? So it’s safe to say that writing about recipes or new food-ventures is generally going to appeal to the masses.

But you know what doesn’t appeal to the masses? Being vegan. I’m pretty sure the general public’s definition of vegan is “Someone who goes around, maybe with a loudspeaker, and shouts from their personal soapbox that meat is murder. They constantly berate you and bombard you with ‘LOOK AT THESE TORTURED PIGS!’ or ‘BABY MALE CHICKS ARE SHOVED INTO MEAT GRINDERS!’ complete with pictures no one wants to see pop up on their social media feed.”

And while there are some insanely passionate vegan spokespeople out there, that is not in fact the definition of a vegan. Nor is is my personal style of veganism.

My veganism is like my faith. It’s there and if you know me personally then you know about it – but I’m not going around beating people over the head with it. My life choices are very much MY life choices. If the situation calls for it, I’ll share my opinions and beliefs with you, but I am aware that not everyone wants to hear what I have to say. And forcing others to hear you just gives your cause a bad rap. It’s an instant turn off.

So for those of you who really don’t wish to have your conscience pricked or really just don’t want to hear what I have to say – stop reading here. But if you’re just a little open minded and curious, read on!

I am a new vegan. This blog is a testimony to the fact that I have not always been one. All the foodstuffs I posted about before? All non-vegan. Paleo, whole foods based, but not vegan. But I was once a pescetarian – someone who still eats animal products and seafood, but does not consume other land/air animals – before I got married so the idea wasn’t entirely unfamiliar to me.

Everyone has their own reasons for what they do. For me, I was convicted to the vegan lifestyle by those documentary films and pictures that tell all about what really goes on in the food industry. It sickened me. But I didn’t jump right into the change. I did my research, watched more videos, read more articles, and joined vegan interest groups on Facebook to ask questions. I educated myself because I really wanted to be sure that if I was going to make this great change to being vegan, that I had something to ground it in – that I wasn’t changing based on a passing whim or social fad.

Throughout my research there were a few sentences that really stood out to me and that I go back to whenever my American social norm programmed brain tells me a cheeseburger sounds yummy. Those are:

  1. The truth doesn’t change based on your ability to accept it.
  2.  It is selfish to require another living being to live in confinement, endure slavery and die just because I enjoy the taste of their flesh.
  3. If we replaced any of the situations in which we use livestock with a human being, the acts these animals endure would be considered abominable.

These stood out to me more than any image of slaughterhouses, chicken farms, or dairy farms – although those are appalling. I can not deny the truth of those statements. And as #1 states, denying the truth doesn’t change the truth.

We’ve been conditioned to believe that it is good for us to eat meat and dairy products. But there is a surprising amount of research that indicates animal products as the leading factor for heart disease and cancer.

We’ve been desensitized by the fast food industry. They use happy cows and chickens as mascots next to their all beef patties and nuggets – I am pretty sure those cows and chickens are NOT happy to be killed and eaten. A funny, but true, meme I saw once said “100% of cows believe that [humans] eating meat is detrimental to their health”. No cow willingly goes to slaughter.

We’ve been fed a sugar coated lie about the livestock and dairy industries. Cage free just means the chickens don’t get individual cages, so they are now overcrowded in open spaces to the point of being unable to move.

We’ve not only been lied to, we’ve been uneducated and ignorant. Do you know where your milk comes from? Dairy cows, yes. But do you know how those dairy cows produce their milk supply? Because I didn’t. Dairy cows are artificially impregnated and then when the calf is born, it is taken away from the mother so that her milk can be harvested for human consumption. But that’s not all, in order to keep a cow producing the highest milk yield possible – these cows are repeatedly impregnated so that they essentially are constantly pregnant AND producing milk. These cows stand in the same place, every day of their entire lives. Go back to point #3 and replace this scenario with a human mother. If that doesn’t hurt your heart, nothing will.

I can’t give you all the reasons there is to be a vegan in one post. Animal cruelty is real and pervasive in our society. People want to cry abuse when the dog next door is left outside in the freezing cold with no shelter or food but then turn around and eat a hamburger for dinner?

Meat is NOT integral to our diets. Protein and iron come from MANY sources. I get my protein the same place a cow does….and they don’t eat meat.🙂

The fact of the matter is, and what most vegans are trying to say, although loudly and forcibly. is that there really isn’t a good reason to NOT be a vegan. In fact, I’d say the top 3 reasons most people don’t go vegan are:

  1. Convenience: our society is not set up to support vegans. It’s not easy because you can’t just go through a drive thru somewhere and pick up a vegan meal. Eating vegan takes planning and organization and a willingness/drive to ditch the convenience factor.
  2. Self-indulgence: meat and animal products taste good, they do or no one would eat them. My husband told me when I went vegan that he couldn’t give up meat because he likes ribs and hot wings too much. (He has since changed his mind and is now a vegan too!) But if you really stop and think about it (go back to point #2 above), this is an entirely selfish statement. It’s like telling your neighbor that you can’t stop stealing their things because you just want them. It’s the me-first mentality and the “I want it now!” mentality. It’s selfishness plain and simple. If that steps on your toes a bit, I’m sorry but it’s the truth. And the truth tends to incite feelings of guilt in us.
  3. Denial/Ignorance: you either know how bad it is and are choosing to ignore it or you really don’t know. Take the dairy cow example from above. I truly didn’t know that and I’d never even stopped to think about it. Now that I know, I COULD choose to deny or ignore it. I COULD look for justifications and probably make up good reasons why I should still drink cow’s milk. But again, it doesn’t change the truth and I personally can’t live with knowing the truth but acting against it.

So there you have it. I’m a vegan. I’m prepared to be inconvenient, to myself, to my family, and to others. I’m prepared to be that person who can’t go to X restaurant to eat (won’t is more like it though). I’m prepared for the “Oh you’re a vegan?!?” type comments full of “ugh”. I’m ok with all of it because at the end of the day I know that the choices I am making are for the better – for me, for my health, and for the animals.

If you’ve read this far and anything I have said resonates with you – I encourage you to begin to do some introspection. Ask yourself these things when it comes to your food choices: Where did it come from? What’s in it? Is this something my body needs or is it something I just want?

And if you’re ready to do some more research, I suggest you start with the documentary “Forks over Knives” which details scientific findings about diet choices and certain health conditions. Then head over to YouTube and watch “The Best Speech You’ll Ever Hear”

Thanks for reading! I look forward to sharing vegan recipes from here on out🙂

~OBM~

Put A Leash On Life.

Life has a way of running away from you. The weird thing is I can see time passing now that I have a little one. I mean, I saw it before in the counting down of days to x event and it the time jumps between having my stepson at the house and in the way he has grown over the years. But I never have seen it so profoundly as I have in the leaps and bounds made by a growing infant morphing into a learning toddler.

Those colic nights that seemed they would last forever are long gone. Making her first step on her own, that seemed as if it would never happen, is old news. New words pop out of her mouth daily and every day she looks bigger than the day before.

Work days stretch on like an endless river, ebbing and flowing each day. Time at home seems only long enough to just catch my breath before errands and work days reclaim their hold on that precious time. Unfinished projects abound. Friends are people you speak to once or twice a week if you’re lucky and social events have to be planned weeks in advance in order to etch out the needed time.

We bundle all the time we have together- the huge chunks of time we spend working, eating, sleeping, cooking, cleaning, driving, and the small snatches of time relaxing, laughing, playing, learning, exploring, and being with those you love – and call it life.

But I think we have it backwards. Life runs away from us because we are too busy doing those drudging things that dominate our time and we don’t spend enough time doing those other, more enjoyable, things. Life runs so fast that sometimes we don’t get ANY time to do the enjoyable things.

It’s almost as if life is running away from the monotony we fill it with.

You can say, “well then you need to enjoy your work more” or “find enjoyment in everything”. But that’s just not realistic. Work is work, sleeping and eating are necessities,and I don’t particularly find cleaning enjoyable.

If  you came over to my house today, you’d find that the bare minimum has been done in order to eat and have clean clothes to wear. And perhaps you’d call me lazy for spending an hour reading a book or taking a nap while my daughter naps rather than cleaning up the house or folding laundry.

I choose this perspective: If I died today or tomorrow, those clothes would still be there and I wouldn’t be any better off if I HAD spent my time trying to keep the endless rotation of clothing put away. Instead, I spent my time enjoying it. I entertained my mind. I rejuvenated my spirit.

If I died today, I’d be mostly happy with how I chose to spend my time on earth. Mostly – because unfortunately I can’t spend every moment of every day doing what I want. But I can cut out some of the pointless crap and make more room for stuff that matters to me.

I can’t do it all. I don’t want to be Super Mom that keeps a spotless home, runs her children to numerous extracurricular activities/sports, always manages to have groceries in the house and dinners made, and never takes time for herself. I’m sorry, but that’s not sustainable. I don’t want to be ragged and tired and so so busy all the time. It’s really no wonder 50% (or more) of marriages fail, if that’s the way families try to live.

I’m not trying to judge. If that’s what you want for your life and it works for you – great! It just doesn’t work for me.

I don’t want life to rule me – I want to rule life. And the only way to do that is to prioritize.

I used to think that what I did was who I am. I had high ambitions and my identity rode on those ambitions. I wanted to be a veterinarian. I worked a ridiculous amount of hours while in college, partly to pay for classes and partly to gain the work experience needed. When that didn’t pan out, I went back to school for something else in the medical field. I’ve worked weekends, holidays, and God-awful hours all in the name of “experience”. So I could further myself and make more money…

I’ve come to realize, recently, that none of that matters to me anymore. I was single. I didn’t have kids. But instead of really finding myself during that time, I spent all that time working towards a “future self” that I thought I’d be happy with. I was working towards an identity. To be someone.

I realize now that all I really want or need to be is me and I don’t want to waste 1 more minute trying to be someone I’m not. Trying to reach some goal in order to be happy and satisfied with life.

Will I be happier if my house is clean? Only until it needs to be cleaned again, so that’s not true happiness.

Will I be happier if I get a raise at work? Only until we are strapped for cash again, so that’s not true happiness.

Will I be happier if I am the picture perfect mom and wife? Not really, because generally people who appear to be perfect on the outside are miserable on the inside.

But I will be happier if I know that I’m being true to myself, if I’m being a good enough mom and wife, if I’m pursuing activities and relationships that truly make me happy and make others happy.

True happiness comes when you get a grip on life. When you finally put a leash on it and don’t let it get away from you. When you don’t get caught up in the stuff that doesn’t really matter.

I’m getting there.

Laundry and Dishes and Cleaning, oh my!

I’m going to admit that my house is an absolute disaster. Like an F3 tornado landed in my house and just threw everything around.

I have dishes in my sink; no matter how many times the dishwasher has been run, I still haven’t seen the bottom of my sink in days weeks.

Even though I know we’ve run through all of our bath towels, washed them all, and even put them away, somehow a pile continues to take up residence in my living room.

I don’t even bother to put my daughter’s toys away anymore, because Sassy B is a tiny tornado all on her own. Our house doesn’t have a lot of storage space and until recently we had to keep her room closed off because cats. So all of her toys are living in the living room – happily mixed among the towels (and other laundry items of the week), scattered about, and I’ve even seen a few on vacation in the kitchen and our bedroom.

Let’s not even talk about my kids’ rooms. VidKid is 12 and we pretty much let him keep his room how he wants. Sassy B’s room also houses my craft stuff and is currently chaos because I’ve been working on getting my craft stuff more organized and out of her room.

I have my small business stuff and inventory from the recent flea market strewn about everywhere while I try to find storage solutions and fill orders and prepare for the next event – which is in 3 weeks.

Don’t judge me. I’ve been busy. And honestly – I just don’t care that much.

I don’t obsess over my house being spotless. It’s just not a priority for me. My dishes get cleaned and we all have clean clothes and towels. Some days I just don’t have time to do anything because I also do work 3 days a week at a job that takes me anywhere from 1 to 2 hours to get home from, depending on traffic and if I have to pick up one of the kids. AND these things, these always-need-to-be-done things, just aren’t that important to me. They will always be there, always resurface, regardless of how many times we do them.

Sure, I have 2 off days a week. I COULD spend all day cleaning on those days. But, I’d rather sit on the floor and play megablocks with SassyB. I’d rather hold her on the couch and watch a movie when she’s having a particularly clingy day or feeling bad because she’s cutting yet another tooth. I’d rather read stories. When she takes a nap, I’d rather take a nap because let’s face it, kids are exhausting no matter how much you love them. Or I’d rather work on some advertising, marketing, researching, filling orders, etc. to hopefully one day be able to work for myself and do what I love. Or I’d rather visit my mom, or have lunch with a friend, or do a myriad of other important LIVING things.

Life isn’t about dishes. It isn’t about laundry. When I’m old and grey I won’t give a rat’s tail about how clean my floors were. I won’t remember how organized my closets were. But I’ll remember baby laughter and smiles and playing and making memories and doing work that matters to me and that I love and having meaningful friendships and spending time with family. I’ll remember and judge my success not by how little dust was on my mantle or by how immaculate my kids’ rooms were. I’ll judge my success by the happiness of my life. I’ll judge it by the kind of people my kids become – how I taught them to live and love, hope, dream, fight for what you believe, and trust in God. I’ll judge it by the relationships I’ve forged, nurtured, and kept.

I don’t care if my house is cluttered. I keep it clean enough to be livable. Sure it’s nice when everything is neatly put away and everything looks sparkly and new. And I do get to a point where I HAVE to straighten things up because the chaos is driving me insane. But I don’t live everyday that way – because it’s not important. It’s just stuff. And stuff has a way of getting done and working out – eventually.

In the meantime, I’ll be over here snuggling my baby and watching her learn and explore, and doing a thousand more important things.

And hey, if my house being clean is so important to you – why don’t you come on over and do it yourself?

~OBM~

Migraines are not a myth

Raise your hand if you get migraines…

Ok, now put them down and go back to burying your head in your hands to create a dark, safe place. I’m not talking to you. Although you are free to read along🙂

I’m talking to the rest of you who didn’t raise your hands.

I’ve had migraines forever. I don’t even remember when they started but I remember being diagnosed around 16. They range, as migraines do, from mild to severe – meaning you might not even know I have one or you might look at me and think “Dear God, she’s dying!”

Or at least that’s how I feel. Like dying.

For you non migraine people, that sounds like a horrible thing to say – that I’d actually prefer death in the grip of a severe migraine than to go on suffering at that level of body gripping pain. But it’s true.

If gouging my eyes out took the pain away, I’d do it. If ripping my teeth out with pliers took the pain away, I’d do it. If smashing my head against a brick wall took the pain away, I’d most certainly do it.

I’m not a suicidal person. And thankfully, when I’m at that level of pain, I’ve always been people who can take care of me. If I for some reason happened to be alone, I’d like to think I’d have enough wits about me to call someone or at least 911. I don’t think I’d ever really hurt myself during a severe migraine attack. But yes, at that moment, ANYTHING sounds preferable to the pain.

Don’t judge if you’ve never experienced a migraine like that. It’s not that I have a low pain tolerance, because not EVERY migraine is that excruciatingly painful. They are all painful. They all suck. They all come with light and sound sensitivity and typically nausea (for me). But I can function through a vast majority of them. I have to.

Migraines, in my opinion, are very misunderstood by anyone who does not experience them. Any invisible pain illness is misunderstood by those who do not experience the pain themselves. And everyone’s experience is unique.

I’m not lazy or faking it. I’m not over-exaggerating. It’s not “just stress”. It’s pain. It’s pain that has caused me to miss hours and days of my life that I can never get back. Who would willingly choose to miss out on that much time?

I’m not a pain med seeker or a pill junkie. In fact, I and many migraine sufferers like me have to hoard our migraine meds because health insurance won’t cover more than a limited amount of certain meds like Imitrex in a month’s time. I only get 18 pills a month. It sometimes takes 2 pills to kill a migraine. That’s at minimum 9 migraines that I can treat a month. I, like many other migraineurs, can have several migraines a week. Thus I can have more than 9 migraines a month. Meaning if I used my meds according to label directions (to take 1 pill at onset and 1 pill an hour later if symptoms are still present), I would run out of meds and be left to suffer! So we hoard them for the “really bad ones”.

The problem with this is that, by the time you know a migraine is a “really bad one” the meds won’t work as well if at all! But if you take them at onset, then you’ll run out, and you *might* have been able to get by with something less extreme like an excedrin. Or not. We don’t know, but we have to take the gamble because we don’t have enough meds to NOT take the gamble.

Of course there are other options. Fioricet for example. Which is what I am now on.

Which has a controlled barbituate in it and is addictive. BUT I can have enough to last me a whole month. How does that make sense?

And then there are countless other preventatives and alternative meds all of which have wonderfully scary side effects.

Topomax, my other friend, causes peripheral nerve tingling, memory dysfunction, and can cause vision loss. (I experience the first two).

Botox, acupuncture, chiropractics, etc. etc. etc. Money Money Money.

Yes, please please tell us we are faking it. Please tell us the pain isn’t real or isn’t that bad. I so love spending the money I make on the days I can make it to work (read non-migraine days) on migraine meds/doctors/therapies.

Or I could just lay in bed and suffer.

Yeah. Migraines are just headaches.

Anyway, I did read about this totally not scientific, not tested, very hypothetical alternative “treatment” (for lack of a better word) for migraines today. (It’s a few years old, but I’m just hearing about it.) An ear piercing that supposedly reduces migraine occurrences by running through a pressure point that is associated with migraine pain…

Interesting. I mean, even if it’s complete crap, I’m all about piercings, so why not?

You can read the story here.

~OBM~

Rainy Day Ruminations

Gals and Guys – I’ve seriously neglected this blog for a couple weeks. In fact, I’ve pretty much neglected everything for a few weeks in lieu of focusing on networking, marketing, branding, and preparing for my first flea market.

It’s really hard to be super-woman you know!

I haven’t meal planned this month AT ALL. And it’s seriously affecting our diet and budget. I have made a few meals from whatever we’ve had stored away in the freezer which have been yummy and Dear One, bless him, still cooked this past Tuesday. But I’ve grossly neglected my family in the food department.

As a result, my body is on strike. I have been achy all over, my hips hurt most, but every major joint in my body hurts – and of all things, I have an inflamed eye. Iritis per the ophthalmologist – just inflammation in the eye. Pretty sure my body is SCREAMING at me to stop eating crap, especially gluten – because, let’s face it, I haven’t stuck to a gluten free diet in weeks. No, I keep on “cheating”. At some point, cheating stops being cheating and just becomes doing. I’m at doing. And it’s got to stop!!! Who stole my willpower? Because I really want it back!

My house is a wreck from all the crafting. My kitchen looks like it threw up crafting supplies and food dishes.

And I’m not even done getting ready for this flea market thing! Starting to spaz out. What was I thinking?!

On the positive side, I did sell two aromatherapy pillows last night on etsy. Yay me. But I still need to find some way to balance all of this stuff – work, baby, house duties, time with hubby, and this hobby trying to turn business thing. It’s overwhelming. I don’t want to give up the crafting and selling because I love it and if I give it up, I really feel like I just have nothing that’s “mine” you know? I need to have an identity – and right now, this is it.

Maybe the problem is I don’t really know what my identity is and I’m trying to pull myself into too many directions. I can’t 100% identify with EVERYTHING, obviously – I end up just being inconsistent.

I want to do it ALL. I just don’t know how, and I end up feeling more like a failure at everything than successful at any one thing.

I can’t very well drop everything either. Someone has to meal plan. Someone has to cook. Someone has to be passionate about us eating well. Someone has to plan and keep the schedule and make sure the household continues to function. (I ‘m like the supervisor, haha, I might not physically DO everything, but I’m typically there overseeing it all). I can’t stop being a mom or a wife – not that I want to! And for now, I have to work. SO – is the answer I just DON’T do anything outside of that? Is that the extent of my identity? It can’t be. Because I’m just not satisfied with that.

Sorry, this is outside of my normal posting character. But perhaps it’s a bit more real.

~OBM~

Priority Check

This morning, as I was getting ready for the day, I was feeling particularly down on myself as a Christian. I was counting my many sins in my head, listing them, defining them, explaining them, daring myself to put them in black and white and share them with the world. This thought line was instigated from a conversation I had with my grandfather yesterday  after church. We were discussing my Sunday school lesson (Mark 11:112-25) and we were talking about why Jesus  cursed the fig tree. Did he do it just because he was angry that there were no figs?? Or was it, much like the rest of the bible a parable? The fig tree was mature to the point of having leaves, indicating that it SHOULD have fruit. Am I a mature Christian that bares fruit? My Papa asked me that question very pointedly. What is my job as a Christian. Humbly, shamefully even, I told him that I don’t know yet, but I am looking for that answer.

So.  Fast forward to the car ride to take my precocious princess to school. We are rocking out to Way FM, and she indicates that she has a question, so I turn down the tunes.  “Mama, what does reflection mean?” I explain that it is what we see when we look in the mirror. “Ok, so what does Image mean?”

heeeeeeey…… I can use this moment…….. “Image can mean what we see in the mirror too, but it can also mean how we look on the inside, like our personalities. you  know how the bible says that god made us all in his image??  do you think that God’s face changes all the time, or that he made us to try to emulate his behavior?” she giggles at me..
“Mama, i can have my teacher put image and reflection on the board of tough words that we want to learn!!!  So we can all share them!!!!”

And my heart melts. My sweet and feisty, precocious child is my saving grace. I do not live for her, that would be idolatry, but through her God speaks to me, he reminds me that, though I am FAAAAR from perfect, I am not too bad.

another busy *and emotional* mom

Free at last, free at last!

I don’t hate pets. I don’t hate any animal really, except for creepy crawlies. And those aren’t animals, they are MONSTERS! But if it has fur or feathers and is generally cute (and yes, I consider even possums cute, in a weird ugly way….possum babies are pretty cute.) I love them. I wouldn’t have spent time volunteering at a vet clinic when I was 15, to go on to work as a vet tech for 10 years while also doing volunteer work at a local shelter and studying to go to vet school if I didn’t love animals.

I wouldn’t have allowed two cats to continue living in our house for a year and a half after we decided it was best to rehome them if I didn’t love and care about animals.

I did not want them to end up in the shelter. Shelters provide a service, don’t get me wrong, and it’s slightly better than tossing a pet out the window of a car. But the sad, sad reality is that shelters are under-funded, typically run mostly by volunteer staff or minimally paid staff, may or may not provide veterinary care for the animals, and are waaaaaaay over filled which results in high rates of disease and euthanasia.

No kill shelters are typically better but they generally have a screening process and wait lists.

Anyway, we really needed to re-home our pets. 1) I’m allergic to them and while working with animals is one thing, living with them is a whole different ballgame. 2) One of the cats is super neurotic. Crazy Cat. She’s unravelled our carpet, pees in the shower, and just drives me generally insane. Super gorgeous cat, but absolutely not worth it….to me. 3) The other cat we onky got as a friend for the crazy one hoping to tone down the crazy. It worked, but made #1 worse.

It’s been a loooooooooong year and a half, but we FINALLY found good homes for both cats!

It’s amazing, I can cook without yelling “Down Tikka!” a million times. I can leave my daughter’s bedroom door open.

I love animals, I do. But I think I love life without pets more. If I get the urge to cuddke sonething soft and furry, I can always visit someone else’s pets….then go home to my nice pet free home.

Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I’m free at last!

-obm-