Struggles

It’s been quite on this blog since I started my classes, I know. I was never the best at time planning, but I’m getting better. I’ve been here more then once over the last couple of weeks, trying to write about this internal struggle I’ve had but couldn’t seem to find the right words. Then, two days ago I came across this quote that really spoke to me, and was just what I needed to hear (or read) to be reaffirmed in my reasons and beliefs.

“It doesn’t matter what other people do, it only matters what kind of person you want to be!”

Rabbi Mordecai Finley

You see, on the outside I might seem like a very confident person. At least, this is what people have been telling me. But I’m really not. I’ve been having a hard time to stop comparing myself to others, especially in the gym. More and more women have been starting to visiting the gym I go to. Women who lift weights. Women who look buff. And cut. And strong. More muscular than me, leaner than me, stronger than me. And while I know it’s stupid comparing myself and my body to them, and be jealous, I am. Yes, I think it’s great that women stop believing that lifting weights will make them look like a man, and that there are more women venturing into the weight room, and still it makes me feel little. It makes me feel less bad ass, and I feel like I need to prove to myself, and them, that I’m stronger. You’re using 20lbs dumbbells, I will use 25lbs! You’re going for ten repetitions? I’ll do twelve! And while this might actually help me improve my strength, it’s still unnecessary. I know that. But I can’t seem to stop.

So in a quest to gain more, get bigger, get stronger than all these other women in the gym I became very inpatient with myself. I started questioning my habits, my diet, my reasoning for why I choose to eat plant-based. For a second, I was thinking about eating meat again, that maybe I do need that animal protein to gain, even though that same thought grossed me out at the same time. I was considering it. I asked some people whose opinion I value and trust for input on that matter, my teacher (who is a meat eater), folks at the gym, and vegan ladies who lift. To my surprise, even the first two (carnivores!) reassured me to stick to my diet, to stick to my values, since of course, they already realized what took me much longer to see, starting to eat meat again won’t make me happy either. It won’t help me gain if I’m disgusted by the food I eat. I enjoy eating food, food is amazing, and I want to keep it that way. There’s no good in seeing food as the enemy. And then the quote was the last little bit of affirmation I needed. Now I got a meal plan that should help me reach my goals, I’m reading “Thrive – A Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life” by Brendan Brazier, and I feel so much better.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it isn’t always easy. There will be rocks laying in our path, but what matters is how we deal with them. Do we stop, turn back, or do we find a way around or over them?

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Whole-Food Plant Based Vs Vegan Diet

Regii:

Here’s a great post about the distinction between the terms “whole foods, plant based” and “vegan”. I used to describe my diet as a whole foods, plant based diet, but switched to using the term vegan because I was getting tired of explaining to people why I didn’t use vegan in the first place.
Well, here’s a great explanation of just that, and I might just start using the whole foods, plant based diet term again.

Originally posted on Health Room Blog:

By Luke Jones. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. 

Image by Liz West

Image by Liz West

I wrote an article a few weeks back sharing my reasons for eating a whole-food plant based diet. The response was pretty positive, and the article was featured on the Teen VGN Blog, so thank you all very much for that!

One thing you may have noticed in that article, and in others, is that I largely refrain from using the term ‘vegan’.

Yes, in a way you could describe my diet as being vegan, but I thought I’d explain today why I lean towards using the phrase ‘whole-food plant based’. It’s mainly to do with health implications and accessibility, which I’ll expand on hopefully in a non-preachy, non-high-horsey sort of way…

MY WHOLE-FOOD PLANT BASED DIET

Just to recap, my diet consists primarily of whole foods. Fresh fruits and veg, organic…

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How Do You Do It?

When people hear I’m “vegan”, the first question they typically ask is: “But how do you do it?” followed by “So what DO you eat?” which can be interchanged with “Where do you get your protein?”

Once they ask the first question, I tend to answer “It’s easy, really. I just don’t eat meat or any animal products.” Their response 98% of the time is a shaking of their head and “But HOW can you live without meat? Without BACON?!” and I smile and repeat “It’s really easy.”

To the 2% that are interested in an actual answer, show genuine interest, and won’t go down the meat/bacon road, this series of posts is for you.

Giving up meat wasn’t all that hard for me. I’ve felt somewhat conflicted about eating meat all my life. It might have to do with the fact that I grew up on a little farm, where we lived as self-sufficient as we could. Raising animals for their products and meat was a big part of that self-sufficient life style. From as long as I remember I was part of that, and responsibility grew with age. When it was Schlachttag (word-by-word translated to “Slaughter day”), everyone lend a hand, from aunts & uncles, cousins, to neighbors, and us kids. It was a big event, and as you could imagine, it takes a lot of hands to take care of 240-270 lbs of meat. As kids, it was kind of fun. Everyone got together, we got to run around and play outside, and there was delicious, fresh sausage and Schnitzel to eat. As I got older, and realized what it was really all about, I became more and more grossed out by it. The day (generally a Saturday) started by being woken up by a screaming and crying pig at 4am, when it gets picked up for slaughter, arriving at the slaughterhouse later on when the carcass is cut up in big parts, and we had to package and label hundreds of pounds of fresh sausage, and different cuts of pork. We filled laundry basket after laundry basket, and after every helper picked some for themselves to take home, we transported the rest, and filled up our three freezers. Smoked sausages and bacon were hung on rods in the pantry, until they were also ready to be frozen. The whole house had a distinct smell of fresh meat for the coming week, which people thought was delicious, but always made me gag.

So maybe it’s because I learned from a very young age, where meat comes from. The bacon you enjoy so much, used to be a piglet. That steak you had for dinner, used to be a cow. And not happy ones, like they’re trying to make you believe in the advertisement, but that’s a whole different story. I could just never fully grasp the concept of getting a piglet, putting so much work into raising it, just to end up slaughtering it. And do you know how they’re slaughtered? (Keep in mind, this is how we slaughtered them on a family farm, the meat you buy at the supermarket is a whole different story) First, the pig gets transported to the slaughterhouse (which isn’t a joyride, pigs are very intelligent, and show clear signs of distress like crying and screaming). After arrival at the slaughterhouse, the pig is first rendered unconscious by stunning it with a captive bolt pistol. Then it’s hoisted up so it hangs on a big hook from the ceiling, from where it gets exsanguinated (ex·san·gui·nate  [eks-sang-gwuh-neyt] to drain of blood, to bleed to death) Note that the pig is still alive when this happens, it’s unconscious but it’s alive. After the blood is gone, the hair gets removed, then the organs get taken out, the head gets cut off, and the carcass will be cut in two. The halves are being washed, cooled down, and the cutting and deboning starts. The meat is getting cut, smoked, ground into sausage, packaged. The whole day started at 4am and ended around 8pm.

So maybe the connection between the animal, and the how it became the food on my plate, is why giving up meat was easy for me. And no, I don’t crave meat, or Bacon.

Picture: Pinterest

Back to College & Bean & Beer Chili

Wow, so this was my first week of classes. I’m a college student (again)! So far, I’m really enjoying my classes, especially the two that aren’t online. I go to school two days a week, and the two classes I have are taught by the same teacher. My teacher used to be Powerlifter, coached Powerlifters and Navy SEALS. He is really passionate about the field, and really knows his stuff. I really like that about him, the fact that he teaches with passion just gets me more and more into the whole field of Exercise, Nutrition, and even Bio Chemistry. I’m sure I will learn a lot from him during this semester. I take two more classes online, Biology and Health & Wellness, which are also pretty interesting so far.

I’m now juggling work and school, which takes up most of my time. I’m still trying to fit my workouts in, but school must be my top priority for now.

However, I’ve been wanting to share a recipe with you. I made Thug Kitchen’s Bean and Beer Chili and OMG! This was so freakin’ delicious! If you don’t know Thug Kitchen, check them out. The recipes are amazing, and the guys over there are hilarious! This would also be a great meat-free alternative for you Superbowl Party ;)

Zero to Hero and the Challenges of my Daily Life

A couple of days ago, the Zero to Hero Challenge gave us the assignment to make our “about page irresistible”. Now, I had an about page for a while, and was never really all that happy with it. I find it boring, but I’m having difficulties coming up with something funny, interesting, different. So the last couple of days I have revisited the page, made changes, thought about it, revised it again, and so on. Without a real result. Am I really this boring? Where did all my inspiration go?

I’ve been trying to come up with posts for the blog, but had (and still have) tons of other things on my mind that kept distracting me. And so I kept opening and closing a new text post, until today. I figured what the heck, I’ll just update you on what’s been going on.

Well, I’ve been crazy busy at work. Four co-workers got sick in the past week and we’re already under-staffed. Now add all the New Year Resolution Gym Goers and you might get an idea of what my past week working at the gym looked like. Add a bunch of other personal, daily life challenges like “discussions” with the husband, grief, and homesickness and you get the perfect setup for a mind explosion, if that makes any sense. Working out is my general form of stress relief, and I only made it to the gym to workout Monday and Friday, so that didn’t help the whole situation either.

However, one of my Resolutions is: Concentrate on the positive side of things and try to live more in the present. So that is what I was trying to do: The extra hours I worked will result in a bigger paycheck (with which I could treat myself), I made a positive impression on my boss by picking up the extra work, I got lucky with the weather on the days I rode my bike into work, and I called up a friend of mine, which I now resolved to call more often. My muscles got a longer, and most likely needed break to recover,  and I did get some “sauna time” in. So life isn’t all that bad.

Now back to that about page, I’m not going to sweat it for now. I’ll wait till inspiration strikes me, and just keep revising and making little changes. Tips are welcome!

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