Living in the nineties…

I joked to Colin last month that I’m going to be eating like I’m living in the 90’s again but it’s true. I was vegetarian back then and, when I went out, often my only choice on the menu was a grilled cheese sandwich and fries, which isn’t exactly vegan friendly. The vegan option then was a salad. There were no Beyond Meat burgers, Ben and Jerry’s almond ice cream, Haagen Daz almond ice cream bars, or vegan cupcakes.

The grocery store across the street dropped the price of a  three pack of Haagen Daz chocolate peanut butter bars down to $4.99. Tell me that isn’t tempting. It’s far too tempting for me. They taste so good and I can easily down three of them over the course of an evening.

So now I’m eating more lentils, fruits, and vegetables and making sure I get out for a walk every single day. I have a once in a lifetime vacation in March and I want to make sure I can fit my summer clothes.

One thing I’ve done is started a weight loss scrapbook, not to print, just for inspiration. I make a page every couple of days and scroll through when I need encouragement.

blog page

Four of my layouts

So far the scrapbook has been a huge help. I have a tendency to look back and picture myself screwing up. Now I can go back and see that wasn’t the case, I’d done just fine.

Winter is coming early this year and it’s cold, yucky, and wet. I won’t be able to walk my favourite Cedar Valley trail for much longer and today’s walk was simply to drop off Colin’s ADHD medication at the drug store and stop in at Value Village so Colin could see if there was something exciting there. It was a miserable walk, windy and alternating between icy rain and snow, but we did get out of the apartment. I even found two tank tops that I love…

tank tops for Dominican Republic

The one on the left has silver glitter and the one on the right shimmers in gold, burgundy, and purple. They’re both light weight and will be absolutely perfect.

Now, since I didn’t get much of a walk outside today, I’m heading downstairs to the treadmill for a half hour of just me and my music.

It’s my life and I’m going to live it to my fullest!

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Segregating Vegans

I settled down at the computer with my breakfast and dove into the “memories” section, hot chocolate in hand, to see what happened today on previous years. Some days the memories are funny, some days they’re poignant, and sometimes they kick you in your teeth. This was a kick you in your teeth day.

I had posted that I thought Sci Babe was being ridiculous for being against vegans who wanted a vegan option at In and Out burger. I also figured my friends would agree with me because, hey, what’s wrong with an extra item on the menu. It wasn’t like it would affect the rest of the food. I was wrong. Almost immediately one friend posted this…

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“Are you a vegan like the ones I described?” Seriously? What that really means is “just ignore me making nasty comments about vegans on your page… you’re different”. And, no, I’m not different. If I was in the States, I’d have been signing that In and Out petition for a burger too.

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This was someone I’d been friends with for years so her question surprised me to say the least. I was especially surprised she thought it would be okay to walk into a vegan restaurant and ask for a beef burger but couldn’t understand why a vegan would want a veggie burger in a meat based restaurant.

I figure it goes by can and can’t. Can a meat eater eat a veggie burger, fries, and salads? Yes. Can a vegan eat a beef burger, caesar salad, and french fries with gravy? No. So a veggie burger can be added to a meat based menu while a meat burger simply doesn’t go on a vegan list. It’s like asking someone with celiac disease to eat a wheat based slice of pizza. No, just plain no. But they can order a gluten free pizza at some restaurants. Flip side is you couldn’t order a wheat based anything at a gluten free store. It goes by who can eat what.

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When was the last time she was at a vegan restaurant? 1978? Every vegan restaurant I’ve been to has served pretty traditional meals. Burgers, soups, salads, fries, cupcakes. The closest one even serves “fish” and chips and poutine. But she didn’t want her bubble of ignorance burst so she blocked me instead. Blocked because I gave her a list of restaurants that serve vegan dishes.

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No, that’s not how it works. You don’t get to have a conversation about a minority of any type, especially one that puts them down, then claim it’s the minority’s fault for being upset. Saying I shouldn’t be able to eat at traditional restaurants with my family is not “a conversation”. Me explaining this isn’t an assumption. Funnily enough I haven’t missed her.

One thing I learned that day is you can think someone’s a friend but you won’t know for sure until you bring up something in your life that might be “controversial”. Fist bump to the friend who said it’s cool to ask for new products.

Something else I learned recently (not from this thread) is that the people who yell the loudest while defending you might not be yelling because they’re defending you. They might be yelling simply because they like yelling and controversy. I scrolled through my blog recently and found a post where a friend added a picture of herself eating a beef burger on a vegan thread I’d made then blocked everyone who disagreed with her. She had been a friend for years and one who vehemently supported me and the kids several times. But she turned just as quick and was just as vehement against me when her opinion was different.

That one was a hard one because I thought of her as a real friend. We’d messaged each other regularly for years, sharing thoughts, opinions, and pictures of our fur babies. She’d recently discovered a love of makeup and I sat through several makeup box openings because she deserved to have someone watch her happiness. I wear makeup maybe twice a year. And then she left, flinging insults as she blocked me. A friend said she’s like that, I wish I’d known in advance. But you can’t know everything.

And for those who aren’t shocked at the thought of eating vegan, here’s a curry recipe for you:

Vegan Indian Curry Recipe

4 medium onions, finely chopped
4 tbsps oil or cooking wine
1 1/4 cups Silk soy creamer
2 tbsps white wine vinegar
398mL can diced tomatoes (14oz)

2 tsps turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp tandoori masala
4 tsps coriander
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground ginger

2 tsps brown sugar
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 stock cube (or 1/2 tsp salt)
4 cups mixed vegetables, chopped (mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini, potatoes, carrots, sweet bell peppers etc)

Mix all the spices together. Cook the onions until translucent, adding more water as needed. Add the spices, reduce heat, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the milk and vinegar and stir well. Add the tomatoes, paste, sugar, and stock. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer very gently for 45 minutes. Add the vegetables and cook until tender – between 30 to 45 minutes. Serve over rice.

Foggy with a 100% chance of confusion…

I left home this morning with a big bag of cleaning supplies, a broom, a mop, and the sound of Colin yelling, “Fuck! I’m going to be late for school!”

I was heading to Kait’s new apartment to clean it before they moved in. I find that when you move into a high rise, you can pretty much expect a clean place. Anything smaller and you just have to hope. This was a hope situation.

I walked in the front door and immediately had a panic attack, made more annoying by my thoughts of, ‘You’re supposed to be cleaning! You don’t have time for this!’ Luckily panic attacks, like kidney stones, aren’t forever and I eventually started to clean.

It didn’t take me long to realize that this was either a midnight move or one done by the laziest people ever. I’m betting on the latter. The fridge was still full of food, most of which was expired. Their dishtowel was still waiting to dry the cup in their dish rack. And the shampoo and conditioner were still in the bathtub, partially hidden by the shower curtain they’d left behind.

I took out four big bags of garbage and scrubbed everything imaginable and then Kait called. Her internet provider was coming over now, three hours early, and needed an adult there. So I agreed to stay.

Just over a half hour later, it was my turn to panic. Someone still needed to be there for internet guy but I had my emergency psychiatrist appointment to discuss the Mirtazapine along with my appointment with the Canadian Mental Health Association. Kait agreed to come back right then but they were 20 minutes away and the bus to get me to my appointment on time was in 10 minutes. But what could I do? I was still needed there.

And then it fell into chaos. My bus, which would take my right to my appointment didn’t show up. The one that arrived turned east about five blocks too early instead. Then I got to the downtown stop at the same time as my appointment was due to start… with my bus due in five more minutes. It arrived and three strollers had to get organized. Then the driver had to wait for two elderly people, one of which was across the street. I am very pro waiting for seniors but my flabber was ghasted that it all happened then. There’s usually a stroller or a senior.

I got to the hospital and the elevator door closed right in front me. Then there was a line at the receptionist desk. Finally I was able to go sit down and hope I’d get in.

I’d already called everyone so it was known I’d be late. I had my mental health appointment in the waiting room then explained, sheepishly, to my doctor that I’d been having quite severe suicidal ideation at the beginning of the week but they all stopped pretty much yesterday and I’m now back to my normal. My normal being a lot of anxiety and getting overwhelmed easily. But it’s a lot better than it was. He agreed that it was a good reason to make an emergency appointment and I’m keeping my regular appointment this month too.

crummy vegan jokeI lost two Facebook friends yesterday, neither of which interacted with me in any way, which makes their loss negligible. One posted a “joke” about vegans not being wanted at a barbecue and I replied. Instantly the OP responded wanting to know what I had against her. I’d disagreed with her political stance the day before and now didn’t like her joke. If I didn’t like her why was I her friend? Why was I trying to make her friends feel guilty for liking the joke? Some things there’s no coming back from. This ended up being one of them. Then a mutual friend took up the cause, defending her, and I ended up deleting them both.

One thing I find ironic is the “right” tends to claim the “left” is living in an echo chamber and only wants to hear from people who are like them. However, in my experience, the “right” tend to be the ones who get upset the easiest at the simplest of disagreements. They consider themselves strong and unflappable because they can laugh at controversial jokes, completely ignoring that the jokes in no way relate to them. I replied with a similar carnist joke in response to the one above and was immediately called a bully. Funny how that works.

Now Colin’s wandered into the bathroom for another three hour long bath. I swear this kid is going to turn into a prune! And he shared with me a time lapse video he made on his balcony this afternoon.

Don’t blink. Seriously. The video is maybe 4 seconds long. He’s thrilled with his new little camera though.

A vegan “offended me”

*heads up* this blog isn’t a democracy and I delete posts that I find offensive. One thing I find offensive is an inability to read the post fully before replying. Try reading every word. Another is simply being an ass. And, a head’s up to the last person who got deleted, the “race card” was played by a white woman. That’s why I used the term.

vegan offended meI checked the joke three times before I posted it, just to make sure there wasn’t anything offensive that I’d missed. I had to because I know how butt-hurt meat eaters (aka carnists) can get when faced with vegan humour, no matter how mild. But it looked fine so I shared it with the title of “for my fellow vegans”.

It garnered a couple of chuckles and then it happened, a friend posted a picture of herself eating a burger from Wendy’s. Immediately one of my vegan friends jumped in to say that was really crappy of her and she was a shit human being to do so. I stepped in to say that she was a good friend of mine and this was really out of character of her. And she certainly wasn’t a shit human.

Then her own post showed up on my newsfeed saying that “white vegans claim oppression over nothing”. No one had said anything about oppression and there’d been no discussion of race but she knew if she wrote that she’d posted a beef burger in a vegan thread she wouldn’t get much (if any) sympathy so she, a white person, played the race card. I hope all her friends are happy at how well she manipulated them. Then she went on to block me and two other (non vegan) friends. Their crime? Telling her she’d gone too far. We’d been friends for seven years and simply seeing a vegan joke was enough for her to block me. She then went on to report my post and Facebook, who will leave up posts telling LGBTQ youths exactly how to kill themselves, immediately complied.

Vegans make an easy target. There aren’t many of us and, as in any group, there are always some vocal outliers to focus on. The problem is that people act like those loud spoken few are the majority. That would be like me claiming all Christians were like Westboro Baptist. You’re all just hiding those placards, ready to bust them out, right?

Lately I’ve seen a few posts against veganism, sadly from friends, and I decided it was time for a rebuttal of my own.

One of the first assertions is that vegans claim to do no harm. Umm… that’s so not true. There might be a small handful who think they’ve achieved perfection but the rest of us are a lot more aware than that. Vegans try to do as little harm as possible. Every vegan group I belong to fully supports prescription medication, for example, even though it’s all tested on animals, simply because we deserve to live just as much as animals do.

I’ve heard and seen it mentioned far too many times that vegans are all white women following a trend. Did you know Ghandi was a vegan. He started in 1931, far before any such “trend”. Plus my vegan groups span the globe, encompassing people of all races and religions.

People argue that veganism is a rich person diet. I say those people are woefully ignorant. Sure, someone who goes to an expensive grocer and buys all organic produce and processed meat substitutes are going to have an expensive diet but what about rice, lentils, dried beans, tofu? I buy produce off the clearance shelves whenever I get a chance. Each package is 99 cents. And, in the States, they have Dollar Tree, which sells frozen, canned, and jarred vegan products for a dollar each. If you travel anywhere in poor, rural countries, you will see people cooking meals with very little, if any, meat. They’re not vegan, they just can’t afford meat. Meat is a luxury, not the other way around.

They go on to claim that around 500,000 thousand undocumented children harvest 25% of American crops “but I guess brown people don’t fucking matter”.

Wait for it… wait for it…

opinion receipt

Sorry, that one slipped out.

On what planet are vegans the only people eating produce? Every non-vegan meal I’ve ever seen has had plenty of vegetables and grains served on the side. So, if you think the above argument is valid, go look in the mirror because you’re part of the problem. Actually you’re even more of the problem because guess who eats most of the soy crops? Cows. They eat around 85%. And, since soy is added to almost everything, it’s not just vegans eating the rest. Plus one third of the world’s grain supply is fed directly to animals. There would actually be more food for starving people if we ate less meat. More potable water too as farm animals drink a lot.

Then comes the argument over quinoa, saying that it’s leading to starvation in South America and it’s all white vegans fault. Once again claiming that white vegans don’t care about brown people. Know who eats quinoa? It’s been billed as a superfood so fucking everybody. I’m currently enrolled in a wellness class that has a nutrition component. The POC nutritionist was extolling the virtues of quinoa to my mixed race class. I guess my brown nutritionist doesn’t care about brown people. Right? Isn’t that how it works?

I used to belong to an atheist group that mocked vegans on a regular basis, with no provocation. Someone asked an honest question, “Are you vegan for health or ethical reasons and can you explain why?” and I answered. One of the moderators started in on me because I have a smart phone. Didn’t I care about child labour? Of course I care about child labour. So I asked her where she got her child labour free phone. My contract was almost up and if there was the equivalent of fair trade for a phone, I would certainly look into it. Her response? “I don’t give a fuck about the children. I just wanted to harass you.” Alrighty then.

Then comes allergies as an excuse. Soy, wheat, peanuts, and tree nuts are all common allergens and people with those allergies can’t be vegan, goes the argument. Except there are all sorts of people who are vegan with those allergies. No one’s living solely on those four products. There’s beans and legumes, teff, the ubiquitous quinoa, spelt… the list goes on for longer than I care to type. I’ve seen people with more allergies than just those four who are successful and healthy vegans. I don’t see the reverse argument though. Milk is a common allergy. Does that mean having milk products should be frowned upon?

confused girlSomeone claimed they’d starve to death as a vegan because they can’t eat nuts. Umm really? Deep sigh. Vegans eat a whole lot more than nuts, which are expensive and full of fat. First there’s all the fruits and vegetables, literally all of them. Then there’s legumes and beans. Then there are grains like wheat, spelt, and teff. That person could make a feast at every single meal and never use a single nut. If they don’t want to be vegan, that’s fine, but don’t claim nut digestion to be the reason.

Honey gets mentioned several times. First claiming that people are against bees by not eating honey. Honeybee farmers are trying to save the bees (while making a profit off their labour). Bees are transported from farm to farm, resulting in accidental deaths due to the jostling of the hive. I’ve also read that bee farmers consider a 15% loss of bees acceptable each year as some bees will starve because sugar water is not honey and doesn’t sustain them as well. I don’t know about you but I actually don’t need honey. It’s not a necessity.

The second claim is that vegans shouldn’t eat any fruits or vegetables because they were pollinated by bees, thus exploiting them. Refer to above picture for my reaction to this. Bees pollinate flowers so they can make food for themselves. If, for some bizarre reason, we stopped eating all plants and let the land go fallow, bees would still be out there pollinating the flowers. They don’t care about the plants at all or us eating them for that matter.

Then comes the incidental damage to animals. Rabbits getting shot at, mice getting run over by combines, rodents getting killed, warrens destroyed. As I’ve mentioned before, vegans are not the only people who eat produce so it’s hardly only vegans. And the whole mice and other small animals getting killed by combines is mostly a myth. I’m sure a small amount get caught but they have legs and are fast. They run away from combines. They’re more likely to be eaten by hawks as the combine flushes them from the earth. Still a death but definitely a natural one.

I hope this blog post made you think, because I want you to think. I’ve had people say they dislike vegans because one vegan was an ass to them. Okay. So, using that logic, would it be okay to hate all Chinese people because a Chinese person was a jerk? All white people because some white man cut you off in traffic? No? So throw out that attitude. Chances are there are more vegans that you interact with regularly that you don’t know about simply because most of us don’t talk about it. And if you ever want a kick ass brownie recipe, let me know because I know one.

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One of my yummy vegan dinners