Day 4, Where is My Mind?

Yes, the Pixes song, should be in your head now.

It is day 4 with no sugar or flour.  I am a nincompoop, and didn’t go to the store before I started.  Because of that, I had nothing of substance to eat.  I have eaten an obscene amount of clementines and popcorn. I fixed that last night and bought so many veggies I should be good for a week or two. My teeny tiny fridge is very full.

Anyhow, as you maybe able to ascertain from my chattering about the fullness of my fridge, my head is not 100% right now.  I remember when I first went without flour on the weekdays the first week was hard.  I was a little bit mean, and tired.  I think it is (I have no scientific basis) my blood sugar has nothing spiking it, and my body isn’t used to that.  I imagine I’ll feel much better in a few days. It also doesn’t help I have been home reading article, now for a full two weeks.

My sister was saying that my diet is so restrictive already she doesn’t know why I’m doing this. I tried to explain to her, but I’m not sure she can understand.  Once I get through the initial phase of my body readjusting, I’ll feel so much better.  Before I started doing this, if you follow the blog I had been having a hard month.  My food and emotions were not in check. They are so connected for me, and I imagine for everyone if they paid attention.  It may seem extreme, but sometimes we need a shockabuku to get ourselves back to where we belong. I really hope someone gets that reference.

Tonight I will cook something great, although I have no idea what.  Just for fun, here is what my arms are beginning to look like.  They may still be big, with the under cottage cheese flab, but they are getting firmer.  The only body part I have that I would say I’ve hated are my upper arms, so this improvement makes me happy. Sorry for the 2 semi creepy photo, but I am mildly infatuated with the change in appearance of where my arm meets my shoulder.

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Je suis folle!

I was reading other blogs this morning, and stumbled upon this. This girl is pretty awesome, and I can relate to many of her feelings.  She had beriatric surgery, but I imagine the feeling of the transformation is the same regardless of the path.

I remember when I had initially lost a big chunk of weight, I did used to be much bigger.  When I went from at least 260ish (god knows I was never weighed near my heaviest, and my heaviest time on a scale was high 250’s), down to around where I am now, I remember feeling similar to her.  I would look at my body turning into a body that looked like a “normal” body.  I actually remember when sitting in the desks at school wasn’t uncomfortable, well, because they stabbed my fat. They are still uncomfortable. There was one day, I was sitting in a physics office hour, and looked over into the glass on the cabinet doors beside me.  I remember it so clearly, from the pants I had on, to what was on the chalkboard.  It was the first time I can remember looking at myself and not being horrified since childhood.  My legs were a normal size and shape.  I was so happy.  Now I am that low weight at my starting point, but I see myself the same way I did when I was 50/60 lbs heavier. I don’t see a normal person anymore because I sit down, and my gut comes out in a most unsightly way.  The double chin when someone takes a photo from a low angle kills me. I even look at my hands when Mr. F is holding them and I compare the size of our hands.  Sometimes I get upset because I don’t think I clearly have the woman’s hands. I empirically do, I am just crazy sometimes. It’s all a matter of perspective.  Mine sucks. I don’t think I can fix it, but at least I can be aware of it.

I can’t help but worry that it will never be enough.  My sister is 130lbs, which is a very high weight for her, and I think she feels the same way I do.  I had a friend who had been hospitalized for anorexia multiple times.  When I met her she was doing really well, around 110lbs, up from her lowest of around 70.  She would always say, “I have to look at myself with a mirror, not a magnifying glass.”  It’s great advice neither of us can take. She disappeared, I looked for her. She had a major breakdown because of an immoral therapist at Stony Brook University whom I hope she reported.  Last I heard from her, she went back to her treatment center down south. She seems much like me outwardly.  We both seem terribly independent and tough, we are very together, from doing well at work, school, to doing volunteer work, etc; type A people. I think that drive, and need to look perfect, stems from an inherent fragility and insecurity.  Obesity and anorexia are different sides of the same coin.

I hope and wish both of us, and everyone with the same demons, learn to put the magnifying glass down.

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Antibiotics in Big Agribusiness

Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.

I worked as a microbiologist for a few years with some very well respected biofilm folks. There are strong reasons to believe while we are living our body (somatic) DNA does change via horizontal gene transfer, although the DNA we pass along to our children (germ) remains unchanged.

Antibiotics given to people to kill bacteria are a good thing and should be less limited than they are, (although better organized but I’ll leave that for another day). However we need to keep the bacteria we eat, and we will always eat bacteria, “dumb”. The horizontal gene transfer between bacteria in livestock and soil bacteria in farming is where most of our antibiotic resistance comes from.

Let’s hope we don’t kill ourselves before we are willing to make needed changes. These things will eventually kill us, it’s just a matter of when.

Turning Veganese

A recent comment reminded me about my major issue with farming animals. This is a system-wide problem and applies to meat, dairy, eggs as well as animals grown for fur or leather. The vast majority of animal products come from large factory farms where antibiotics (among other things) are routinely mixed into feed.

Naturally these drugs end up in meat, milk and eggs but more importantly they end up in manure. Not a lot reaches your body (though some research suggests otherwise) and our sanitary sewer systems have the potential to sterilize it in the case that it does. The manure that the animals depicted below are ankle deep in (or like the lagoon in the photo below, common at pork and poultry operations, is loaded with both microbes and everything that animals have excreted via their manure.

Microbes are great at adapting. They don’t have a lot of genetic…

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Day 2, and Quick Chatter

The no flour and no sugar thing doesn’t seem so hard.  The only big problem is I desperately need to go to the grocery store. I looked up a bunch of recipes, so I can shop for the next week. Lots of sweet potatoes and black beans! It’s good that it is getting cold because I want warm cooked things.  Mr. F misses cake, and Princess K isn’t doing very well. I think my diet was the least changed.

Because I need groceries so badly I’ve eaten far too much popcorn, and too many clementines. They are not very satisfying things. Also, randomly, the delicious tofu and veggies my gym buddy made seems easy.  She says I’m doing everything right already, I’m just using the wrong pan.  Next time I’ll use cast iron.

I really love MMA.  I bought my own gloves today, and hand wraps. No skin was removed!  I start going twice a week in October. The only thing about MMA that I am not excited about is a girl I used to know told me happily she has started going.   I really don’t want to work out with her.  I tried to distance myself from her some time back.    I have been thinking a lot lately about personality and character.  I care for more about character.  This girl has a great personality, she’s bubbly and sweet, but a rotten character.  She used to be engaged to an Orthodox Jewish boy, and she was converting.  When he would come visit she would lie about the food being kosher.  It sits with me so badly.  Anyhow, selfishly, I’m sad that the school now has someone that makes me uncomfortable. I know I’m neurotic. I hope she likes the work outs though.  She is young and generally lost and I shouldn’t be so harsh.

I’ve been avoiding the scale, because I had been getting smaller but with no weight loss. It was upsetting me.  I’ll weigh myself next week after 1 week of no flour no sugar. I’ll keep you posted. Hope for good things!

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Stay Away From the White Stuff, It’s Bad for the Blood

I am going to go a month without flour or sugar.  I need to figure out what I can eat so it’s easy.  To be clear, this is not gluten free, and not carb free.  I will not eat any gluten free substitutions and no fake sugar, honey, etc. I also will start making meals for the week again.  The main goal is to be more creative and healthy with my cooking.  The secondary goal is to lose weight without obsessive counting.

In preparation for this flour and sugar free existence I have been gouging on bread and sugar.  I am so ready to not eat it anymore.  Too much bread makes me feel tired and sick.  So this a crappy fast list, and I will add to it as the month goes on.

What to eat:

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • oatmeal, quinoa, rice and other types of grains (NOT white or wheat flour)
  • oils
  • vinegar
  • spices and how!
  • popcorn
  • tofu, tvp etc
  • nuts
  • beans

When I start making meals, I’ll add meal plans. I need to learn to drink coffee without sugar. Tomorrow I have a stir fry with tofu that my gym buddy made a few days ago. 

Also, I had mentioned I had blood work done.  It was done to check hormone levels because of the loss of my ovary.  We decided (me and my awesome OBGYN) to just run tons of things for the hell of it.  Everything is good.  I’m not pre-diabetic at all, (I was when I was 18 before I started working out), my hormones are perfect, my blood cells are healthy, although I could do with more of them, but there is a bell curve, I’m just on the low end of it.  My thyroid is happy and healthy. My triglycerides are freakishly low, literally half of what they were when I was 9 years old! My bad cholesterol was not in the ideal category  but it is in the near ideal.  The thing that bothered me was my good cholesterol is the VERY lowest in the normal range.  I already work out a great deal.  I am going to eat more nuts and “good” fats.  My mom (a nurse) says it is very hard to raise good cholesterol.  However, it can’t hurt to try.  Also I could eat fish.  That would likely help, but I’m not sure how I feel about it.  I really have very little moral issue with eating fish and I told myself when I quit eating meat, that it would be because I didn’t want to.  That I would be loose with my definitions and not strongly define myself as anything.  That being said, I don’t think I can regularly eat fish.  However, it’s in the back of my head.

I have been sitting at home reading articles for the past week and a half.  I have read more in the past 2 weeks than in the last three years, but I almost feel confident I can start writing.

I’ve also been practicing my french for my trip. A friend who teaches english in france set me up with a friend whose is worse than my french. It forces me to speak french because there is no english fall back and in him I have acquired a Parisian tour guide.  I do love a 26 year old handsome Frenchman fawning over me.  Although it’s different from what it would have been five years ago, now I laugh about it, and tell him it’ll never happen. Back then I would have chased that attention and affection. I’ve turned into a girl who 5 years ago I would have been jealous of.  I’m proud of that. I’m more comfortable with myself, and happy with the relationship I have.

Things seem to be coming together.  With that being said, as much as I hate planning a wedding, and getting married scares the ever-loving crap out of me, I am glad to be getting married to Mr. F.

The picture on top of my blog of the two bird mugs, are mugs me and Mr. F bought together at a local farmers market.  Mine’s tail broke the other day.  I’m very sad about it.  To make up for it, here is a photo from the day he proposed.

Lastly, I went to an MMA fight this weekend.  I will NEVER fight.  They are terrifying, but I watched a 115 lb pretty little blond girl destroy a former marine.  Terrifying! However there are noticeable changes to my upper body so the work outs will continue.

I’ll quit my chattering.

Posted in About Me, Crazy, Food, Wedding | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Lazy Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms

As promised I am trying to be a better blogger.

I have had very little interest in cooking lately, but I bought fixings to make stuffed peppers a week ago. I was not going to let so many lovely mushrooms spoil. It is cold here, so I was actually looking forward to some warm comforting mushrooms. Sadly I was feeling super lazy and ended up making way too much. It wasn’t pretty, but it sure was tasty. If I had it to do again I would do a few things differently, like instead of throwing the onion and celery into the food processor I would have just chopped them, but sometimes who cares if it looks pretty when it tastes good!

Again I made WAY too much. You could use ¼ of these amounts, but this is what I did.

  1. 1 onion
  2. 1 bell pepper
  3. several garlic cloves
  4. few pieces of bread
  5. mushrooms for the stuffing
  6. 3 stalks of celery
  7. salt to taste
  8. earth balance or oil
  9. stuffer mushrooms
  10. vegan parmesan (optional)

As I mentioned, I was feeling very lazy, so I just put the first 6 ingredients in the food processor and walked away. I sautéed the stuffing until there was a bit less liquid and it was warm throughout.

I transferred the stuffing into a glass container, and filled the stuffer mushrooms. I sautéed the mushrooms in a bit of earth balance in a covered pan. If I had to do it again, I would instead “sauté” the mushrooms and stuffing in vegetable stock.

I made WAY too much, so this is what I have left for another day. Plus leftovers from the cooked batch.

I threw a bit of vegan parmesan on top near the end.

My monster bowl was waiting impatiently for warm food.

I forgot to take a picture of the finished product! I was too busy eating them. I’ll update later with one.

Quick, easy, and warm! Perfect for days like today when it goes from the mid 80’s down to the low 50’s.

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Hope, Bruises, and Philadelphia

I have been meaning to write for days.  I have actually started to write a few times.  Once I accidentally closed the window and lost the whole recipe I had written out.  You’ll have to wait for my amazing pakora recipe, because I don’t feel like writing it out again.  I promise to be a better blogger.  I think you can gather from recent posts life has been stressful and reasonably depressing lately.  I drove to Philadelphia yesterday.  It’s a long drive and along the way I decided I was tired of being sad.  After about 10 listenings of Cat Stevens’, Another Saturday Night, and I was feeling much better.  I also got a new travel laptop.  It is very nice to type on and teeny tiny.

On the topic of feeling better, something very nice happened last week.  The marvelous folks over at Turning Veganese, made my day and passed me a Hope Baton. I’ll add, it’s a great blog and you should read it. From what I can gather, if the Baton is passed to your blog, you have to pick 5 blogs that give you hope. I don’t know about giving me hope so much.  Hope is a strange thing, so I’ll just say these are some blogs that I adore.  I’m not sure if they’re supposed to be vegan, but mine mostly won’t be (so there!).  I want the world to be beautiful. That’s a large part of my desire to lose weight.  I want to be a beautiful thing, on all levels.  I’ve been told I have a perfection problem. Anyhow, even the sad can be beautiful, and the first three on this list go along with that.  The order is meaningless.

This guy is what I would be if I were braver.  I know it sounds weird to be jealous of a man who wanders around the Bronx taking photos of prostitute transvestites, but I am.  I think his work is moving, and honorable.  It puts things into perspective for me, and makes me want to do more.

This is related to the last; I love me a good photograph.  I need to constantly remind myself people are just people. Also, as you’ll see in the next listing, I am a sucker for fashion.  Plus I miss the hell out of NYC.

I know this is two, but they may as well be one. They were both once much better blogs.  They have gotten very well known and much less accessible.   I used to open the Sartorialist in the morning and let it inspire what I would wear that day.  I can’t do that anymore.  However Garance, is funny, and I have never gone wrong with one of her suggested products.  Again, the soul has left these, but the outside is still very pretty.

This is my gym buddies blog.  If you are gluten free, her blog is for you! In the recipe section she marks which are dairy free as well.  She is the only person who makes me Holiday cookies.  She is also an amazing crafter.  Seriously though, her cookies are disgustingly amazing.

This last one is pretty well known, but important to me.  Even before I quit eating meat, or dairy, I loved this blog.  Her south west recipes are so tasty, and so good for you. I really respect her as well.  She is clearly very busy with her blog and family, but still takes the time to answer stupid pan diameter questions.  It was really my first vegan resource. I still visit the blog on almost a daily basis just to see if there is anything new.

Onto bruises! We did grappling in the MMA class.  It sucked, but it was a very good work out.  I wish I was tougher or meaner looking sometimes.  People get too familiar with me.  My teacher, who is generally awesome, has gotten that way.  He thinks my discomfort with people touching me is hilarious. About ¾ of the way through the class my legs were radiating from mat burn.  He and my gentle loving gym buddy made fun of my delicate lady skin.  I did want to punch them both. The red turned into bruises the next day.   As much as it sucked, I look forward to the MMA classes lately.   I think I should have played some violent sport when I was young.

Lastly, Philadelphia. It was a good friend’s birthday and I thought the drive would do me some good.  I love to vacation alone, and I used to love long car rides.  They make me sore in my old age, but I do still like the quiet time alone.  The night before I went to Philly I had a nightmare I had to take a child on the ride with me.  I digress; we went to a disturbing fringe musical. It touched on feminist issues, but it isn’t worth getting into here, maybe another day. We went to an amazing Mexican restaurant, Cantina Dos Segundos, http://www.cantinadossegundos.com/.  There aren’t a ton of vegan choices, but I got the fajitas and they were spectacular. I was sad I couldn’t finish them.  I fixed that this morning. Even though it was so crowded we had to yell to each other across the table the service was still great.  Our water glasses never emptied, one girl didn’t like her drink, but hadn’t wanted to say anything.  Our waitress noticed and took it off the tab. It was just a phenomenal experience and also the first restaurant I haven’t gotten at all sick from for a while.

After we went to Little Baby’s ice cream, http://www.littlebabysicecream.com/. It is attached to a pizza place that serves vegan pizza as well, I think it was called history of pizza, but I’m not sure.  They gave me a free piece of vegan pizza which I shared.  It was a lucky night.  The ice cream was good.  It wasn’t life changing the way I feel Lula’s in NYC is, but I will go back.

And here is my free pizza! It’s beyond compare because it was free.

Plus, I looked nice yesterday. It’s great when you don’t do anything really special and for whatever reason that day you just look great.  That made me feel better too.

I am almost a person again, and with my guilt for not blogging, I have been thinking about things to write about.  I had blood work done, and everything was great, and I’ll write about that later.  I also had an ultrasound of my kidney.  I’ll find out on Friday how that is going.  I imagine it’s fine. It has been for years. Today I was motivated to get my world more in order.  I am still having issues with food.  Whenever I eat lately my back aches.  I assume it is vestigial gal bladder stuff, but it’s annoying.  I did a mound of dishes, bathed and groomed the dog, took out the garbage and recycling, put together a book shelf, visited my sister, brought the towels and sheets to be washed, changed my sheets, bought new pants from a brand that is normally far too small, bought a faux leather jacket that is über cute, and I’m on fire. Forgive the video, but the song makes me laugh. “I took out the trash today and I’m on fire!”

One last unrelated thing, my ex boyfriend, who is still a close friend, decided it was his mission in life to find my blog.  I am doing my best to keep this as anonymous as possible so I don’t worry about hurting feelings.  He claims to not have read it, that he just wanted to prove he could find it.  The strange stats from that day however suggest otherwise.  I thought I should post some terribly embarrassing photo of him here, because if he is reading it, I know he’ll react. Instead I will wait until he accidentally stumbles and mentions something from here.  Then I will share the joy of an embarrassing gnome photo, (that is what I will call him from here on out).  Woot to childish behavior!

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Yelling at the Rain

“She generally gave herself very good advice, (though she very seldom followed it).”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

I am sometimes a bitchy ungrateful thing. My family, after a touch of passive aggressiveness decided to care at least a little. My mom offered to throw some money at the dress. She originally had asked how much the photographer was, when I told her, she said never mind. Her plan to pay for it was quashed by the amount. It was really funny actually.

The weekend was complete crap. We got a lot accomplished but still, just horrible. Yesterday I spent my vacation day in bed, with the lights off, half awake with my head just aching. It’s just stress.

We picked the wedding cake flavors, and a rough idea of the cake design. I realized a day after we didn’t leave with an estimate. Since I was working on two hours of sleep, and had driven hours to get there it’s a miracle I had any mind at all. We are getting the cake from vegan treats, and will get something very similar to this, but with blue where the white ribbons are, the yellow will remain.

Then we drove from PA to Westchester to see the ceremony location and the reception restaurant. The restaurant turned into a family affair but Mr. F’s family liked it, so I guess that’s a plus. The park is lovely. The private room on the second floor of the restaurant looked a bit dingy, but I know it’ll look much better with linens and cleaned. The day of the wedding I’ll have to get there in the early day, or send someone to open the windows. It feels stuffy. The room however, with the exception of the floor, is lovely, and no one will notice the floor at night. The walls are tinned, I think that’s the expression. That isn’t wall paper.

The park is beautiful. I wish we could have the whole wedding there. I’d love a big tent with twinkle lights and lanterns. Sadly parks close at dusk.

The cake tasting and the exhaustion and stress have left me taking crap care of myself. I have been sleeping too much or not enough. The amount of protein I’m eating is shameful. There were days I made most my meals out of pretzels and hummus. The dishes were piling up, and the under-pant pile outside of my bathroom is sizable. It’s time to shake it off, and get myself together. The major wedding plans are done, and now it’s time to work on my thesis.

My mom showed me her wedding photos. It may sound sad, but I think it was the first time I’d ever seen them. That may give you an idea of how unsentimental my family is. My parents’ whole wedding cost around $700. That includes everything, from the photographer to the one of a kind dress, and the catering. She offered me her dress. It’s beautiful but I doubt it’ll fit me. My mother was a teeny tiny woman when she was young. I think even if I lost every pound I want to, her ribs would still be significantly smaller than mine. I was very happy she offered. I told her to offer it to my older sister first. It would fit her, and it would mean so much to her.

I am still not whole. I have muscle pains up my ribcage, god knows why. My skin has freaked out. I have a dry patch on my upper lip that has been there for a week. None of my other skin is dry. The inside of my mouth has made a habit of coming off. My body is not dealing with the stress very well. I haven’t lost any weight, but I look different. That’s good I suppose. I think I just need to get organized and push on. Sometimes when you attack the problems, they don’t seem so bad. The solutions just need to feel like they’re starting. On that note, I have an email to write to HR about my health insurance. One check mark is a good start to being done!

On the 17th we, Mr. F, Princess K, and I, will give up flour and sugar for a month. We’ll keep you posted.

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Wedding Planning Sucks, Europe Planning is Easy, and Ceviche is Gross

So I took a week off. Today was my first real day back at work, other than tutoring and taking care of my cells, so I guess I only sort of took a vacation. Anyhow, for me it’s a vacation. In my week off I tried to plan my stupid wedding and to solid up plans for my Europe trip.

http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR2cwAzuJrS-PU-nPpKyEITkxYhEijZAUivzw2WqhrGlmuxuQhf&t=1

I love my fiance, but he is not terribly helpful. My mother could care less, my one local sister glazes over and looks annoyed whenever I mention anything wedding related to her (I have said very little to her so it isn’t that I talk too much about. In fact when I text her I was engaged her response was “What??????????” and that was all I heard for a day), I am not close to his family, my grad school friends are all as busy as I am and care as little as I do, and my college friends live very far away. My gym buddy is happy to help, and she’s big on making pretty things. However, she clearly can’t make calls for me. Another one of my sisters, the one in Colorado, just keeps giving me advice and ignores everything I say to her. “You should have a buffet.” When I’ve told her the only thing Mr. F cares about is that it’s properly catered. “You should have it at home and not so near the City.” after I’ve told her many members of Mr. F’s family can’t go if we have it too far away from the city, and everyone on our side drives. She even told me to go buy a dress from David’s Bridal. I had told her after I went to that place what a horrible experience it was. I am short and wide. Their dresses are not made for me. When people say, it can be altered, no, they would have to remake the whole dress. The chest is TOO big, the waist falls too low, and a tea length dress goes PAST my ankles. When the woman decided to start helping me, after I told her to please not to, she brought me a dress so ugly, that after telling her it would make me look like Merry-Weather from sleeping beauty, decided it was all my ego could take and left. The long and short of it, everything about wedding planning sucks. People give you the run around, they hear the word wedding and jack up the prices. A website will tell you that they are non-profit and have reasonable fees, then they charge 2000$ to have a ceremony that you have to provide your own chairs for. The whole thing is just horrible. Anyone reading this, ELOPE! Unless you are ridiculously wealthy, don’t do it!

I’ve decided I will lie to the restaurant. I am not telling them it’s a wedding. It is a large private room, there is no reason for them to know. There will be no more work for them either way, but I bet the price will go up another 20$ a head. I’ve gotten a run around with the parks, but I hope to have found one. I’ll call in the morning.

Part of the problem with the planning is I just don’t care. I want the wedding to be pretty, but I think it’s a giant waste of money and time. We are spending $1500 on a photographer! That is more than I will spend on my ENTIRE trip to Europe! I am getting married because I love Mr. F, not because I want some stupid overpriced party. I doubt my dad will even show up, because I don’t want his wife to come. He skipped one of my sister’s weddings, and only sent flowers. I should say, my dad is very wealthy, like building a horse arena in his front yard for his new wife wealthy. My sister works for the state, but when she got married she worked at Red Lobster. I am a grad student living on a very very measly stipend, and he hasn’t offered a cent. Even Mr. F’s family, which lives more modestly than my own wants to pay for our cake. I really wanted to cry when he told me that because it’s the first nice thing anyone has offered to do to help me with this wedding. I love my family dearly, but they honestly couldn’t care less. My mothers reaction when I told her we would get married next summer, before the official engagement was, “Next summer? Ok.” That was the whole exchange, beginning to end. The woman I used to volunteer for at the hospital cafe hugged me, got misty and took a picture of the ring when I told her I was engaged. I went back a week later when she was on vacation, and she had told everyone and shown them the pictures. I know every family has good and bad points, but at this exact moment it’s hard not to focus on the bad parts of mine.

I apologize for the ranting, but I’m almost to the point of throwing my hands up. I haven’t been blogging because I didn’t want to just rant or whine, and this has been plaguing me for days now.

On the positive side, my trip to Europe is almost completely planned! It’s sad that a month in foreign countries is easier to plan than four stinkin’ hours. I will fly out on the Dec 27th, reach Berlin on the 28th, fly to Bologna on the 29th, take a train to Florence on the 30th, spend our new years in an AMAZING B&B right in front of the duomo, take a train to Pisa, take a quick listing photo with the tower, then fly to Paris. I rented an apartment while we’re in Paris so we can do some laundry and cook some. My sister who lived in Germany says I will lose weight in Europe because I won’t be able to eat anything; I have many sisters. After Paris, we will fly back to Berlin to Mrs. R’s apartment and she sadly has to return to work. I will pal around Germany that week, and see an old old old friend in Nuremberg, who has grown up! I guess he’s a MD/PhD now doing neurology research. He’s married with two kids! I haven’t seen him since he was 18, and I was 10. He used to spend summers with my family. I am very excited to see him. I may also go to Vienna and stay with a sisters in-law, if I can meet with a professor I desperately want to do a post-doc with. Then, after the weekend, I will go to Athens for three days and stay with a dear friend of a dear friend. I am getting very excited. I know I am going on and on, but this blog was created as an outlet for the crazy, and right now I have a lot to get out.

I need to make this point again, that ENTIRE month in Europe, airfare included, is going to cost me less than my wedding. It also took less than a week to plan the whole thing.

I have eaten like crap for the past few days. I ate a bean burrito from Taco Bell on Saturday, but I stayed within my calories. I had a massive amount of fake taco meat yesterday. I know I went over my calories. Today I had a burrito from Moe’s but it’s really all I’ve eaten today, so I’m within my calories-ish, but not healthy. On Sunday morning, weight had finally come off again after the night of, “I just don’t care”. However it is back again today. I have to believe the math is wrong. I should be losing more weight. I can’t cheat one day and gain back a ton of weight. I also can’t eat 1000 calories a day and burn 400-1000 a day and not lose weight. My bottom has gotten noticeably smaller, and my arms more tone. Maybe there will be a muscle gain, fat lost period that won’t show up on the scale, but I’m getting impatient. Also my new scale, which I have told you is a POS in previous posts, likes to tell me I’ve lost massive amounts of weight. It’ll tell me that for multiple tries. I’ll come back 10 minutes later, and it’ll tell me I’m the same weight I was the day before, which I expected to be. I have broken out the old scale that attacked my foot, because although it’s evil, at least it’s consistent. I’d rather have a known enemy, than a fickle friend.

I am going to go and try to feel a little less miserable. I actually did cook in the past week. I guess I’ll post a quick recipe. I honestly didn’t like it, however Mr. F loved it. He even brought it home to share with his family, and they loved it too. His family is from Ecuador. Ceviche is his favorite food. He doesn’t eat it often because of the cholesterol, and I guess there was a cholera outbreak years back. We made Ecuadorian style vegan ceviche. I guess the difference is, it has ketchup in it. The ketchup was really my issue, because it was all I could taste. However it seems central to this recipe.

  1. Two cucumbers peeled and cubed
  2. Large tomato cubed
  3. Avocado cubed, ours was rotten so we had to go without 😦
  4. 1 can of drained corn
  5. 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (around 5 limes)
  6. 1/2 cup ketchup
  7. 1/2 white onion, chopped small
  8. 1/2c-1c cilantro cut small, I like cilantro so I used a ton.
  9. Popcorn to eat with it

Mix it all together and viola, ketchupy vegetables. If you are not South American, I would use 1/4 c of Ketchup MAX.

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He loved it and ate three large bowls in a disturbingly short amount of time. I know I will have to make it again. I’m just glad it’s easy.

One last quick bitch, I do not look like I’m 210 lbs! I am not saying I’m tiny, but some of the people on the weight loss shows who are much taller look much larger at the same weight. I assume most people lie about their weight, if it’s a strange enough situation for them to give it. Someone posted photos of their profile view on their weight loss blog, and it seemed like a good idea to document it. Forgive the mess. Keep in mind, I’m 5’1”.

Posted in About Me, Crazy, Europe, Food, Recipe, Wedding, Weight | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Food Allergies and Travel, aka Bitchfest

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I have mentioned that I am allergic to dairy. Not an anaphylaxis allergy, but every tissue swells. I feel wretched for weeks. I am literally unwell for a solid week, joints hurt for weeks, and I’m not entirely “normal” for a month.

That being said it’s understandable that I avoid dairy with vigor. When I travel I plan. I pack food. I do everything I can to avoid a random chain restaurant. I have learned from experience that sometimes waitresses and cooks are too apathetic or just not knowledgeable. I had a baker at Cosi tell me there was no dairy in the bread only to have my throat swell 30 minutes after eating. I’ve also had waitresses return to my table claiming to have spoken to the cook but come back with no information, and another who swore the wheat bread (which had dairy) was rye (which did not). Stay away from Borrelli’s, that’s where the waitress was too lazy to actually ask the chef; she yelled at me for ordering too quietly as well. I met my now fiance’s family while trying not to panic about my flushing face and swollen throat. Also stay away from the Waffle House. It should be common sense, but I lacked it. Their poisoning made for a long drive to Washington DC from NYC with a blurry mind, aching joints, and swollen throat.

Bitching aside, there is research into the restaurants and several visits to happycow.com and urbanspoon.com to find a vegan or vegan friendly restaurant before I go anywhere new. (I do write in the passive voice!) I am in Stratford, ON. It has beautiful food, just not very much for a vegan. At least not very much advertised. I made a reservation at The Parlour, and emailed asking if I could have a lunch item for dinner because there were no vegan dinner entries other than a modified salad. They didn’t reply but when I got there, they were extremely gracious and the owner came out after speaking to the chef, and offered me something nowhere on the menu. I had absolutely delicious lo mein with tofu. This is a shining example of how I think things should be done. They knew what was in their food, and they were understanding about my food allergy.

Tonight however, we went to Downie Street Burgers, this was much less pleasant. Our B&B innkeeper told us they were vegan friendly, and he thought that every restaurant in the area catered to vegans and gluten-free folks. I’m sad to say he was wrong. Although my family had great burgers, it was a terrible food experience for me. I asked the waitress if I could eat the bread or the wraps because I had a dairy allergy, I told her egg was fine. She said she doubted I could eat it; I had to ask her to ask to the chef. Normally people don’t guess on that type of thing. When she finally came back to us, mind you at this point we were some of the only people in the restaurant, she asked if we were ready to order never having come back with the answer from the chef. When I asked her, she said he didn’t know either, but he thought it would be fine because the bread spoiled quickly. At this point I’m fairly prickly. My sister, more reactive than myself, was ready to walk out. However, I knew from reputation they had very good food, and I was the only vegan. I sucked it up, and ate a veggie burger with no bun. It’s sad such potentially amazing food came with such horrendous, apathetic service.

Canada has similar labeling laws as the US. Foods, even bakery foods, need to have the ingredients listed. I have worked as a waitress and for years in food service. If you care to look, the information is there. I’m not annoyed when I can’t eat anything in a restaurant. I’m annoyed when people are too lazy to look.

There is a coffee shop here called, Balzac’s. They have almond milk! Also they are open until 9pm. I couldn’t find their hours anywhere online. I had a fantastic drink that seems to be popular in Canada. It’s called a London Fog. It is earl grey tea with steamed milk and a shot of vanilla. Yum! The people there were so sweet as well. They were good about using different pitchers for different milks, and unlike many other places weren’t snotty when I asked if it was almond milk when handed my drink. Having worked at several coffee shops through my college years, I know how often mistakes are made. I can’t say enough nice things about the place.

I get “peopled out” after having to spend too much continuous time with anyone. Despite the impression I give as gregarious to people when they first meet me, I’m actually terribly introverted. My vacation from my vacation was my time with my London Fog, ipod, book, and lackluster vegan cookie that I am just grateful they sell.

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You Can’t Go To Canada Without Scones! (Vegan Blueberry Scones!)

ImageSince I was little my families idea of a vacation was to go to Canada and watch plays for a week.  To continue this tradition I am driving up to Canada with my mother to go watch four plays in Stratford, ON. We usually stay in bed and breakfasts, and one staple food has always been amazing scones.  We haven’t been for several years, and I have no doubt that I will not be eating scones this year from the B&B.  It made me sad to think I wouldn’t get my Canadian scone, so I did the next best thing.  I made my own! I can’t take the credit for this recipe.  I followed one I’ve had bookmarked for a year now, fairly faithfully.  One thing I will add though, if you are using frozen blueberries, increase the cooking time by ten minutes. I used original earth balance not the butter flavored.  They have recently linked the fake butter flavoring to Alzheimer’s disease.  Also, these look small in the original recipe photos, but these suckers are massive.

Here are some more photos from the baking process.  It’s a bit messy but well worth it!

Everything fresh out of the freezer,

ImageThe dough before I put it in the freezer.  Work it as little as possible! ImageBeautiful sugar I have been waiting for a proper opportunity to use. It gives great texture to the scone. ImageYou make the dough into a ball and flatten it on a floured surface.  It’s sticky as all get out.ImageI put them a little too close together.  They get bigger.  I sprinkled a generous amount of the lovely sugar on top. ImageIt is taking effort not to describe how amazing these scones are with expletives.  I will be making them again.  They also are only about 280 calories per GIANT scone.

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