Writer’s Block

This blog is all about attempting new projects and recounting new experiences.  However, the month of October failed to even get one little post.

Between work, responsibilities and Great American Beer Festival (of course), the blog was put on the back burner.

Sorry, October.

My life is currently out of control with “things to do”; my whiteboard calendar looks like a pack of dry erase markers threw a raging party and made an insanely colorful mess all over it in the form of appointments, events and activities. -And they didn’t even leave me a beer-

This is mostly a good thing, though. The reason I’ve been so busy is that I finally landed myself an internship in my field (it only took me 3 years out of college to do it). I managed to snag a reporting internship at a local business journal. Unpaid, of course. It’s newspaper-esque, but has a more narrowed focus. I’ve been the reporting intern since the beginning of September, and what an experience it has been.

I’m finally writing, but more importantly, I’m being published. -Selfish moment of the day: I LOVE seeing my name on the byline of a story. There’s nothing quite like that feeling.- I’m learning from professionals in the industry and expanding my personal knowledge and understanding about subjects that I would never think to explore on my own.

I even wrote my first front-page story. It wasn’t the headlining story, but it was there. Recognition for doing what I know I’m meant to do is indescribable.

Northern Colorado Business Report

The story at the bottom is mine. ….even though they spelled my last name wrong on the byline….

My experience here will hopefully propel me in to the journalism world; I’m currently working on getting another internship. Hopefully. And who knows, maybe even one day an actual, real, paid job.

ANYWAY.

The reason I’m including this is because this is a new experience. And that’s what this blog is all about.

Half Marathon Birthday Present

I’m not really sure what I was thinking.

Actually, I am. I think.

I was thinking about what I’ve had to deal with and overcome physically, mentally, and emotionally over the past five years, and that I wanted to make a statement to myself about what is possible.

With that personal insight being said: I’M RUNNING A FREAKING HALF MARATHON!!!! In three weeks!

The day before my 26th birthday, I will walk, run, crawl, be dragged, or cross that finish line in some other method after plodding my butt 13.1 very slow miles down the Poudre Canyon. I’m definitely not going for time as I’m currently running about 10 minute miles, I’m just going for completion.

I’ve never really been a runner, or enjoyed running, but I do love a challenge and trying something new, and this encompasses both. This will be the first race I’ve ever entered in or run. Most sane people would have started with a 5K, or maybe even a five-miler. Not me. -But if you read this blog often, you probably already have a good grasp of my level of sanity. Or insanity for that matter.-

The training has actually been more rewarding than I would have thought. I started going for runs about two months ago (just because – not for half marathon training); my 2.5 mile starting runs seemed hard and tedious. After slowly working up to five miles, I started contemplating a half marathon. The timing of this particular one was too perfect not to pass up.

My endurance is noticeably up – I’m not huffing and puffing and feeling like dying after three miles. Or even five for that matter (it comes full force around mile seven). It helps to have a running buddy who has been there with me every run and every step of the way, even though mine has four legs and a tail. I’ve also been cross-training with strength and endurance exercises, including CrossFit and boxing. My support system has been great, including friends, co-workers, family, and gym friends.

IMG_0763

My running buddy

It has been a little over two years since my last foot/leg surgery (the current tally being four), and after being told I would most likely never run again.

With three weeks to go, my long runs are at eight miles and increasing to nine this week. I never thought I’d be saying that. Ever.

I’m proud of myself for taking this on, keeping up with the training, and knowing that this is really going to happen. I will run it. I will cross the finish line. I will earn my medal. And I will drink free beer as my reward afterward (and probably a lot of it). Happy Birthday to me!

equinox medal

I think I’ll send my Orthopedist a ‘Thinking of You’ card with a picture of me crossing the finish line.

“It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.” – George Sheehan

Being Me.

This last month forcefully threw me in a centrifuge, separated my realities, tossed me on my ass butt, and demanded I take a strong, hard look at life and what I want out of it, and what I already have. I wasn’t quite ready for that, but the forces of life and fate deemed it so -and there’s really no arguing with them-. After taking time to ponder, I realized that my two realities (past and present) have quite a disconnect that didn’t register for me until now. I am at peace with the direction I have decided to take my life; I have also had to remind myself who I am, and vow to stay true to that. It’s funny how life events and people can subconsciously persuade you to veer from what you originally wanted out of life; I am more aware now of who I am than I was before. I guess I can only thank fate, life, and the additional underlying persuaders for that.

Motivational-Quote

This, this is what I know now:

  • I am tired of being told how I will feel about something, specifically a major life change. Let me be the decision maker in that sense. If you were right, keep the I told you so’s to yourself. I can make my own decisions, thank you very much.
  • I know myself WAY better than anyone else knows me.
  • Love can be the most wonderful feeling in the world, and the most painful at the same time.
  • ‘Friends’ are easy to find. Sincere, true friends are diamonds in the rough. They will have your back and catch you when you fall with unwavering loyalty. Don’t let these people go.
  • My dog is freaking awesome.
  • I am smart, driven, and know what I want. I’m not afraid to go after it and am taking the first steps to do so.
  • Expect the unexpected.
  • Family is crazy. But crazy in a good way. They are my rock.
  • It’s time to experience new places and expand my life bubble and what I know.
  • Excuse makers will always be excuse makers, no matter how much wishful thinking goes in to it.
  • I am stronger than I remembered.
  • Emotions are a privilege. We as humans are granted the gift of feeling, and whether it’s happy or sad, it’s a beautiful thing.
  • Time heals.
  • I have accepted my imperfections. Whether others do or not is of no consequence to me.
  • And finally:

buddha

Here’s to letting go and moving on. Here’s to being Me.

My Summer Bucket List 2013

I am a list person. Always have been. When I have a ton of things to do, I make a list. When I am trying to learn something new, I make a list. Important events/dates? I make a list. Instructions: list. Directions: list. Sometimes, I even make a list for my lists…

That being said, I  have a bucket list for my life (which maybe I’ll share one day), but I thought it would be fun to do one just for the Summer. –Hooray for cliché blog posts!- There are some things that I have already completed, and will include anyway, but there are plenty more that I would like to do, or at least attempt to do.

  1. Brew and bottle beer #2. Done. It will be ready to drink by July 4! P.S. it’s DELICIOUS! And I’m not just saying that. Turned out way better than we thought!
  2. Hike a 14-er. I haven’t done this for a looooooooong time. Done. Hiked Mt. Elbert: elevation 14,443ft.
  3. Go camping.
  4. Water ski. Ok, ok attempt to water ski. Kind of done. Attempted to surf behind a boat. Lake surfing? Boat surfing?
  5. Go to a Rockies game. I can’t believe I haven’t been to one yet this Summer! DONE! I got to go to Todd Helton’s final home game. Ever. He has been my favorite player, and one of my good friends gave me a ticket right behind home plate. I also managed to snag a Todd Helton bobble head doll. It’s proudly placed in my window sill. 

IMG_0064[1] IMG_0082[1]

  1. Plant a veggie garden. Done (See Let Your Garden Grow!).  Above and beyond done. Reserve your squash and cucumbers now! We will have plenty to go around!
  2. Harvest and eat veggies out of our own garden. I cannot wait to do this! Done. And they are awesome!
  3. Get back in to a workout routine. It’s important to me, so I thought I’d include it. Mission hot bod by 26! Done! I even registered for a half marathon the day before my birthday! 
  4. Celebrate 1 year with my man. I know, *gag*. Ok, stopping the mush now. Done. 🙂 Starting over. I don’t need someone else to define who I am. Except for my dog. I’ll keep him.
  5. Catch a big fish and eat it. Here fishy, fishy, fishy.
  6. Move to a new house. This will be happening within the week. Wasn’t originally planned for the Summer, but flowing with life’s curveballs. Done. SO glad it’s done. 
  7. Hit a homerun. Done. If I could high-five myself I would.
  8. Go to a concert at Mishawaka Amphitheatre. I’ve never been!
  9. Buy a ticket to the Philippines. This will hopefully be happening soon for a trip in December! Done. Will be leaving Dec. 26. I love new adventures.
  10. Buy a new car. Done. Again, not originally planned.
  11. Create a budget list for myself and see where I can cut expenses (see #14 & #15). Done. Although it’s not going so well…
  12. Read 5 books. Didn’t quite hit 5, but I finished 3. 
  13. Water fight. ‘Nuff said.
  14. Learn how to compost. For the veggie garden of course.
  15. Unplug myself for a few days – no phone, computer, etc. I actually enjoy doing this.
  16. Take a road trip with no destination in mind. Hopefully I’ll end somewhere cool. Or lost. But I think that’s the point.
  17. Attend the local Sustainable Living FairActually, I will now be volunteering at it!!
  18. Go to a museum.
  19. Run a 5K. I’ve never officially done a race. Been training and running longer than a 5K. Signed up for a half marathon in September and a 10K in October.
  20. Go to a rodeo. I grew up going to them every Summer and haven’t been for a while.
  21. Take a night hike.
  22. Watch a sunrise. Yikes that’s early. Done. I always forget how breathtaking they are. Especially in Colorado. 
  23. See a meteor shower. Love watching these.
  24. Go to the Farmer’s MarketsDone. But will continue to go because I love them. 
  25. Spend some time outside every day. So far, so good.
  26. Learn a new skill. Done. Learning how to can and preserve!
  27. Attempt Geocaching.
  28. Go on a picnic.
  29. Make homemade granola bars.
  30. Go to an amusement park. I LOVE roller coasters!!
  31. Attend Film on the Rocks. I’ve only been to concerts here…never the movies.
  32. Go to the drive-in. I haven’t been in a long, long time.
  33. Do the brew tours. Again. Done. Always a good time.
  34. Actually ride my bike to work. ….if I can remember how to ride it. Jk (I hope).
  35. Take time to appreciate the little things.

Wow. I have a lot to do this Summer. Guess I better get started!

Maybe I should make a list about where to start….

summer[1]

Vegan Diaries – The Final Countdown

Originally posted on http://shrinkingjeans.net

vegan diaries

As of today, I have successfully been a vegan since March 11. That’s about 5 weeks, people! I have been diligent and faithful with minor unintentional slip-ups. And guess what? I survived! It IS possible to go vegan without starving yourself or depleting your body of the vitamins and minerals it needs. In fact, I have eaten cleaner and healthier in the past 5 weeks than I can remember doing before. I didn’t really lose weight (maybe a pound or 2), I didn’t become anemic, and I didn’t join PETA. But I did learn a great deal more about food than I ever thought was possible, and has sent me on a mission to be much more aware of what I put into my body from here on out.

As a way to commemorate my last few days of this vegan challenge, I hosted a vegan potluck where people crept out of their comfort zone and made some dang delicious vegan grub. Simply seeing that vegan smorgasbord brought me great happiness. Some of the scrumptious dishes provided (and devoured) included:

SOOOO much good food and a fun thing to share with friends. Everything turned out great and everyone enjoyed themselves, sans dairy and meat and all.

Learning and researching have been important aspects in this journey. And insanely eye-opening. Among the documentaries I watched, the articles I read, and the book I devoured, I have discovered there is a great deal more about the food industry that is not necessarily common knowlege, and not necessarily advertised. You have to search out the information, take the initiative to read and research it, and have the diligence to apply it to your every day consumption.

A few of the areas that I am much more aware (i.e. a label-reading fiend) include:

  • Corn and its many different masks. Corn is in just about everything at the grocery store, but may be labeled something different depending on its purpose in the food.
  • Sugar and sugar substitutes. Fake, real, or what have you, something sweet is added to many different products that wouldn’t even necessarily call for it. Not only am I looking for this culprit, but where exactly it is on the ingredient label. Remember, the higher up on the list, the more it makes up that particular product.
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Holy yikes! They are in EVERYTHING! It’s hard to stay away, especially because they are labeled as so many different things, but chances are most of the items in your grocery cart contain them. There are organizations and companies out there who will provide labels on their products if they do not contain GMOs, such as the Non-GMO Project.
  • Enriched vs. Unenriched ingredients. Enriched flour, sugar, etc. is processed so that it is stripped of any nutritional value, but is made to have a longer shelf-life and a more concentrated flavor.
  • Artificial food dyes. This is an issue most people don’t necessarily think about. Artificial food dyes are in many foods that you wouldn’t even think of: marshmallows, pickles, chocolate pudding. Not only are most of them petroleum based, the chemical make-up can cause a whole mess of health problems. Although they may be FDA approved, in many other countries a warning label is required to inform consumers that there are unnatural food dyes added.
  • Grass fed vs. not; farm fresh vs. not; organic vs. not.

It baffles me that we must become our own educators when it comes to our food. Many people won’t. We put faith in a system with little question, because we don’t think it would fail us to the point of allowing harmful products to be obtained. That’s just wishful thinking. It’s not about the good of the society anymore; it’s about marketing and target audiences and pretty colors and enhanced flavors. It’s about the money. Bottom line. Priorities have certainly become skewed, and we’re supposed to fall victim unless we have the audacity to go beyond what we’re being sold and dig a little deeper. And I do.

As a recap, these are some of the places I got my information, education, recipes, inspiration, and motivation.

Documentaries

Books

Websites (blogs, recipes, etc.)

Additionally, when I first started this journey, I set some goals for myself. I feel I have accomplished and exceeded even my own expectations. They included:

  • Become more familiar with the vegan/vegetarian community
  • Gain an appreciation for a strict plant-based diet
  • Actually cook a few recipes from the cookbook
  • DON’T CHEAT
  • Be an inspiration (hopefully) for those interested in trying it
  • Learn – I feel like this will be happening a lot
  • Have fun!

I have most certainly learned, become appreciative, and had fun throughout this challenge. It wasn’t all easy and wasn’t all hard; it was an adjustment. My mom has told me she has started reading labels more carefully when she goes grocery shopping. I’ll count that as being an inspiration. Who knows, maybe I’ve struck something in someone else along the way, too.

What now? Honestly, I’m not quite sure. What I do know is that I will be making more educated decisions about what I eat. I also intend to severely limit my meat and dairy in-take going forward. My new goals are to buy local (when possible), stay educated about what I’m eating, continue to read labels, cut out what my body doesn’t need, eat clean, and make choices that will benefit me in the long run. Armed with information, I plan on applying it as much as possible when it comes to food choices.

Whether vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore, it’s important to educate yourself about what you’re putting in your body. If I am to take one thing from this entire experience, that would be the meat tofu of it all.

Vegan Diaries – Comfort Zone

Originally posted on http://shrinkingjeans.net

vegan diaries

Well that’s it. It’s over. I officially give up on this vegan challenge and lifestyle. Sayonara veganness, welcome back meat and dairy!

APRIL FOOLS!

I just couldn’t help myself. *Chuckle*

All joking aside, week 3 has probably been the toughest week so far in this challenge. Not due to a waning enthusiasm for all things vegan, not due to overwhelming cravings for pork chops or cheesecake, and not due to peer pressure or arguments against veganism. It was due to little things here and there that added up over the course of the week: my boyfriend decided he couldn’t hack the vegan lifestyle (proving once again that women are the stronger sex) and went back to eating ‘normally;’ I went to a family dinner that displayed homemade chocolate-chip cookies and cheese-and-meat-laden dishes; above all, I was ridiculously sick and in dire need of comfort food (and an exquisite compilation of cold and flu medication). When I think comfort food, I think hearty, homemade, stick-to-your-ribs food that satisfies some innate insatiable hunger for said dishes, which, somehow also make you feel better no matter how crummy you feel or sick you are. Miracle food, if you will. The problem with most ‘comfort food’ dishes is that they have some combination of meat or dairy in them. I attempted to combat the comfort food stereotype and create versions that maintained the vegan credentials. Therefore, there will be no ‘Eat Of The Week,’ but instead:

Comfort Food(s) Of The Week

Let’s start with the Italian-turned-American-defining dish that can be tailored to innumerable desires, satisfy the pickiest of eaters, and hold its own in the comfort food category: Pizza. There are few and far between who can turn down a piece of piping-hot pizza straight out of the oven, bursting with gooey cheeses and a plethora of delicious toppings, creating a perfect harmony of sweet, salty, and savory flavors delivered directly to your taste buds. You can be as creative or simple as you’d like with pizza, which is one of the love-evoking characteristics. For vegan pizza, there are a few caveats: thou shalt not have cheese, pepperoni, sausage, ham, canadian bacon, buttered crust, or fake-ground parmesan for topping. There are thousands of homemade pizza recipes online. I (sadly) did not take a picture of the final product, but this is essentially how it went down:

  • Homemade whole-wheat, seasoned, agave drizzled crust
  • Arrabiata sauce (now we have sweet AND spicy) – ‘doctor’ up your sauce however you’d like
  • Sautéed portabella mushrooms, spinach, and onions with olive oil and Italian seasonings
  • Sliced white onion, green and red bell peppers, olives, tomatoes
  • Garnish/top with a little sea salt, fresh spinach (you can let it wilt on the hot pizza), basil, and if you’re like me red pepper flakes

I actually didn’t even miss the cheese!

While pizza is a nice start to some comfort food-filled days, there’s one thing that I kept thinking about over and over again.

Homemade macaroni and cheese.

I grew up spoiled. We rarely had mac n cheese out of a box; it was always a deliciously creamy 3 to 5 cheese dish of baked goodness that my mom ruined us with. Others rarely compare, and the boxed stuff is just out of the question. I even made it as my ‘American’ homemade dish for my Peruvian family when I studied abroad. That and guacamole. Separately, of course. They LOVED it! But, I digress. Cheese is nixed from the vegan food pyramid, so I went searching the web for ideas. I found one from Chef Chloe, whose cookbook I bought, and decided to give it a go. It had great reviews and sounded delicious.

Vegan Mac ‘N’ Cheese

I followed this recipe exact, not knowing exactly how these ingredients worked together. The resulting product actually looked like mac n cheese, so that was very exciting! As I dug into my pseudo cheesy noodles and broccoli, delicious as it was, I was a little disheartened. Don’t get me wrong, it had great flavor and texture, but it definitely left something to be desired for the cheese factor. Pushing aside the inclination to compare it to the mac n cheese I’m used to, I embraced the noodle dish I had created. It would be a great alternative for those who cannot have cheese. For those who can but are looking to try something different, go for it, but think of it as a new dish altogether, and not necessarily as the mac n cheese that you’re used to.

macncheese

Vegan Mac ‘N’ Cheese

Of course, with comfort food you have to factor in something sweet, and, preferably chocolatey. I found a recipe for a vegan chocolate orange pudding, which fit in line with the comfort food theme. I have never been a fan of jello or pudding (I think it’s a texture thing), but the combination of orange and chocolate kept me coming back to the recipe. It’s about trying new things, so why not?

Chocolate Orange Pudding

The recipe turned out to be a complete disaster, so I’m not even going to post it on here. I dug deep and bribed my inner Betty Crocker to come save me on this one. The final product actually turned out beautifully. This is essentially what I did:

  • 1 ½ ripe avocados
  • Almond milk (unsweetened)
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Agave nectar
  • Orange zest
  • Garnish with small orange slices
  • Refrigerate for at least 1 hour prior to servingchoc orange pudding

Forgive the vague measurements – I literally have NO idea how much of everything I put in there. Like I said, I started from scratch since the recipe led me down the pudding path of Hell (glimpse: fake vegan chocolate chip explosion in microwave, insta-drying to vegan chocolate cement). I do know that I put A LOT of agave nectar to sweeten it. You could use whatever sweetener you’d like. You could also start out with sweetened cocoa powder – the unsweetened stuff was all I had. Additionally, I put the avocado, almond milk, and cocoa powder in the blender to smooth everything out. I added the agave nectar and orange zest separately and mixed everything in a bowl. It turned out so creamy. I would say it made about 3 cups of pudding total. Oh, and HOLY CHOCOLATE GODS THAT’S GOOD!

Eye-Opener Of The Week

DIVE!

This 54-minute documentary takes us in to the world of wasted food. Directed by Jeremy Seifert, this documentary follows a group of dumpster divers who routinely get their food from big name grocery chain dumpsters, and exposes the wastefulness of the American consumer, grocery chain, and producer. In America, 96 billion pounds of food are thrown away every year. That’s about HALF the food that gets produced. “We pressure supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, and corporations to Save More and Waste Less. We highlight the role of hunger, poverty, and waste in society and take this on as an issue of justice, ethics, morality, and common sense. We imagine a world of empty dumpsters, full bellies, and regular people leading sustainable lives.” Seifert attempts to explore hunger in America, the amount food waste, and the large gap that could be closed as a result of wasted food ending up in hungry hands. He talks with food banks that acknowledge they have an annual food shortage, and continually strive to feed those in need. While many grocery stores and chains have agreements with food banks, that’s not always the case and there are many clauses and circumstances that create, what should be an easy process, a convoluted one. This award-winning film is literally an eye-opener to a world of waste that rarely comes to the forefront of current societal issues, and up until now, to my mind.

Director Jeremy Seifert is planning to launch another documentary this year that focuses on GMOs and the companies behind them. With the current controversy surrounding Monsanto, as well as GMOs in general, this film is sure to spark the interest of many. Check out the trailer here.

With a tough week behind me, I can keep my focus strong on the next 2 weeks of this challenge. Sometimes the desires of comfort and familiarity can be a learning curve that force us to think a different way. And sometimes that way is out of our comfort zone.

Vegan Diaries – Hitting Home

Originally posted on http://shrinkingjeans.net

vegan diaries

Yep. It happened. Twice. I went to a restaurant where all I could possibly have on their menu was the hummus appetizer, a salad (modified), or the edamame appetizer. Oh, I supposed I could’ve also had the olive plate, too. I feel stuffed just reading all that…. Then again I failed to research the menu before I went there, thinking that there would most certainly be something that I could eat…besides just a salad. I thought wrong. I even asked my server if there was anything they could do; I was that person. Being a server myself, I was very polite; I didn’t want to push it or come off annoying. Even with all my efforts, my answer came in the form of a strong ‘no.’

But, I learned my lesson and now know to research menus online or call beforehand.

I’ve never before had to think about that, because I’ve never had any sort of ‘dietary restrictions’ (minus going gluten free for a few months). It’s a new perspective to see how difficult it can be to go out for a meal, depending on how accomodating the menu, staff, and chef are. Then again, I have ‘cut’ quite a few things out of an American diet. It amazes me how many things have meat or dairy and cannot be altered because that’s mainly the meal.

It’s funny how another perspective has been changing for me, too. I don’t find more that I’ve ‘cut’ things out of my diet, but that other people just add more to theirs. It may not make sense to many people, but it’s a different way of looking at it. We’ve come so far out of touch with meals that are fresh and natural, free from GMOs and preservatives and pesticides and corn. Does such a thing exist anymore? That being said, I’m becoming more familiar with my grocery store environment (I hate the grocery store), and am learning which brands I trust, which I don’t, and getting very good at reading labels and ingredients. I also am learning my way better and better around the kitchen. At 25, I don’t really cook. It’s not, nor has ever been my thing. Chopping, slicing, dicing, mixing all seem time-consuming and require a lot of patience. But, I’m getting better and coming to terms with it. Baby steps. I have managed to stumble my way through some recipes, and even (kind of) come up with my own.

Eat Of The Week

Kitchen Sink Tacos

ks taco These have pretty much everything but the kitchen sink in them (yay awkward American expressions!). I literally took out almost every vegetable in my refrigerator for the taco/fajita filling. I started by sauteeing onion, garlic, and asparagus in some olive oil. After those became soft I added red, orange, and yellow bell peppers, serrano peppers for some spice, shredded zucchini, crimini mushrooms, black beans, corn, cilantro, and a whole mess of spices (use your favorite taco or fajita blend). While I let that all marinade, I chopped up roma tomaotes, avocado, and lettuce for toppings. Additionally I made a creamy sauce with vegan mayonaise, cilantro, lime juice, crushed red pepper, black pepper, salt, and probably something else I don’t remember (I got the idea from one of my recipe books). They may look a little grey and bland, but these guys are packed with flavor! Use you favorite veggies, or whatever you have in your fridge — they went over extremely well with friends. No meat and all.

Now, I actually have 2 Eats Of The Week. The 2nd one being:

Delicious Vegan Chili

A Colorado March winter day, with 6 new inches of snow calls for a big bowl of chili. I found this recipe and was sold. This was also modified, of course, by adding a ton more veggies, extra beans, and an extra can of diced tomatoes. That means it needed extra seasonings. Taste test to your liking.

vegan chili veggies

All the veggies chopped up and ready to go

vegan chili

The final result

Craving Of The Week

I don’t really drink milk in the first place. I’ve been using almond milk for a very long time. For my boyfriend, who’s doing this challenge with me, that has been the most difficult thing to give up. As a frequent milk drinker, he’s finding that other forms of milk don’t really compare; they don’t taste the same. I happen to LOVE almond milk, but he has a little more difficulty adjusting to different foods. When it comes to milk, there are a few things that really stick out to me: we are the only species on the planet that drinks another species’ milk. I find that a little odd. Don’t get me wrong, I was raised on it and don’t have a problem drinking a glass now and then, it’s just not something in my every day diet. While there may be health benefits to a glass of milk a day, there are also cons, including a high carbon footprint, how you actually get your milk, what’s done to it, and what’s done to the cows. I’ll get off my soapbox now.

Whats-really-in-your-carton

Eye Opener Of The Week

Food, Inc.

Wow. What a crazy world we live in. This film will not tell you what to eat. This film will tell you what you’re already eating. And that’s even worse. It’s not made to push vegetarianism or criticize someone for eating veal, it’s made to tell you about the food monopoly that we’re encouraging on a daily basis. It’s an industry that compromises food and the best interests of the people by making nutritionally void, chemical filled, artificial flavored meals more affordable than a head of lettuce. And it’s doing it one conglomerate at a time, putting the local, independent farmers, who can actually produce fresh, natural, good-for-you food, out of business.


Facts that really stuck out to me:

  • The average supermarket has over 47,000 items on the shelves. Over 70% of those have corn in them.
  • A chicken can be born, raised in a pitch black environment, loaded with meds and antibiotics, and butchered and ready to eat in 49 days. That’s a month and a half, folks. Their breasts grow so large that they cannot physically walk during their 49-day lifespan.
  • A fast-food hamburger can contain meat from up to 100 different cows. Bettie, Bessie, Barney…..
  • Cows are not meant to eat corn. They are meant to eat grass. Because corn is cheaper and more easily disposable, that’s what they are raised on. In doing so, their stomachs cannot digest the corn, and their stomachs become breeding grounds for E.coli bacteria. The solution? Washing beef in ammonia and chlorine to destroy these bacteria before they are sold to grocery stores. The kicker: it would take only 5 days of feeding grass in place of corn to kill nearly all the E.coli bacteria.
  • We are training fish to eat corn. WHAT?!
  • The USDA is allowed to regulate what constitutes organic food and when your milk is past due, but it does not have the authority to shut down a meat plant if they are selling tainted meat.
  • Food, Inc. took 6 years to produce. In that timeframe, Robert Kenner attempted to interview 50 of the largest food producers in America. Not a single one agreed. These include Tyson, Smithfield Farms, and Monsanto.

I have a newly found appreciation for local farming and intend to do my best to get my hands on independent farmer produce. Quality over quantity and local community support. I’m all for it.

This vegan adventure definitely hit home for me this past week between learning where I can and cannot go out to eat (and knowing I have to do my research), to understanding the importance of local farming and where your food is truly coming from. We don’t live in a perfect world, but we can do our best to make adjustments toward a healthier one.