I'm bipolar. I blog about it. I also blog about sex, theology and atheology, funny shit and sad shit, books, music, feminism, and love. Mostly love.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Mega Post

I got really behind! On the road I'd been so good about getting pictures of my food and I was planning ahead... and then there was a fricking hurricane in Albuquerque and the electricity went out in our hotel. So rather than do anything, I just went to sleep. Last night... I just didn't feel like posting. So today I have some catching up to do. Whoops! Bear with me.

Picking up where I left off, I think it's safe to say you know what oatmeal tastes and looks like when made with water at a hotel. I've posted it already. But in case you didn't know:

This is oatmeal.
Lunch was incredible though. This time Jim found a restaurant on Trip Adviser called Bangkok Tokyo in Amarillo, Texas. The owner served us, and through some conversation I found out he was a vegetarian. Everything in his restaurant could be made vegetarian, and he was knowledgeable about a vegan diet, which was really helpful. I got a miso soup which he assured me was made with vegetable and not fish stock. It wasn't the best I'd ever had soup-wise, but it was still pretty yummy. The entree was deep-fried tofu with some kind of tangy sauce (I could give you better details if it wasn't two days ago. My bad). It was AWESOME. And I managed not to get a picture of it. However, I got to try some of Mom's seaweed salad which was also incredible. We're putting it in our plans to go there again on the way back home! We also stopped at Orange Leaf (Mom is a fucking froyo ADDICT). And newly aware that those thingys weren't vegan, I got a little dairy free froyo with about a cup of fruit on top. Yummy!
Miso Soup
Seaweed Salad
"My belly is happy" face
New, informed Orange Leaf

Lunch had been incredible, but dinner was incomparable. The whole place was vegan. It was actually called:

I was overwhelmed. Probably for the first time in my life I'd have been willing to eat everything on the menu. When I was younger I was a picky eater, as a vegetarian I became limited in what menus offered me, and as a vegan I often have to invent my own meal. But at this place I didn't even have to think about it. Everything was delicious. We found this one on Trip Adviser as well. I wasn't even paying attention, and as we pulled up and I saw the sign I had a little fit of excitement. For a starter we had some lightly salted edamame. I may have gotten more than my fair share at our table. (Oops. Sorrynotsorry.) My entree was called the P.E.T. Pumpkin, eggplant, and tofu. It was very spicy, but I'm pretty fond of a little heat. It came with two springrolls, and adorable, heart-shaped brown rice. I was full after dinner, but couldn't pass up dessert. I ordered banana springrolls. Basically fried banana. Jim got the sticky rice. When it was all done, I left with two boxes, one so full they gave me a rubber band to keep it closed! I'm crossing my fingers we hit it on the way back.
These people are so cool.
my whole meal
it's a heart!
soooo much food
After that came all the drama with the weather. I went to bed. Too tired. You get the idea. When we woke up, I again had hotel oatmeal. I'm not going to post a picture. Instead, you get this (scroll to top). There. After that we went most of the day without eating so we could have lunch with Kathi and Rochelle (the reason for coming to Silver City, New Mexico, btdubs). I was starving, so thankfully Kathi had set out some apples and almonds. That was enough to hold me over until we walked to a place called The Curious Kumquat. I think we'll be going back later in the week for a tasting. I'm pretty excited about that!! I got a chickpea burger without the cream sauce, a soup that was green (when they introduced the soups they said vegan and I bounced on it), and there were some precious apple slices on the plate. If it hadn't been our first meal with Kathi and Rochelle I may have tried to get some more pictures of the restaurant. It was very cute, decorated with local art, and representing these southwest colors as only a southwest town could.

ALMONDS in the raw
Apples. yes, I eat the core.
Then for dinner we had a hard time figuring out where I could eat. We finally decided on a steak house. Go figure. There was some chips and salsa to start us off. The salsa was incredible. It was my first experience with real salsa in its natural region. It was hotter than I'm used to (I went through Mom's water a few times), but I loved it. I couldn't get enough. On the actual menu I searched a while before deciding on a peanut butter and jelly. It was probably going to be the best I could do. I also ordered the sweet potato fries. She assured me they were not fried in butter like everything else in the restaurant. And they were actually quite good. The pbnj was so-so. For dessert I ordered a cherry pie. Sans the sugar used, I'm pretty sure it was vegan. They use Criso which is vegan. You're welcome for that, veggie friends. Don't believe me? Check it out. I couldn't finish it in the end (I really had eaten a shit ton of chips), so our friends helped me out. ;)

Puppy mills and hunting. My two favorite things. -_-
This morning I had oatmeal again. However, I'm willing to post the picture because it was pretty damn awesome. I just used about a cup of oats, a cup of almond milk, a few shakes of cinnamon, raisins, and bananas. But when I microwaved it, I kept the bananas in, so they got all melty and blended into the oatmeal. It was pretty fantastic topped off with a Stevia packet. Kathi made me coffee. We ate our breakfasts on the front porch over talk of mountain lions and weaving. We also made plans for cooking dinner tonight! I can't wait to show you that finished product!

Lunch was not as easy for me. We went to a place serving breakfast until 2:00. I wasn't going to have oatmeal again, so that left me with fruit and dry toast. I wasn't really ready to complain. Those things were good too, but I'm already ready for dinner...

Friday, July 26, 2013

Part 2 of Day 1

I planned on finishing up last night in the hotel, but after we got there and went swimming for a while, I basically collapsed in the hotel. Besides Mom didn't put shampoo in the hotel toiletries, so my hair was (and is) basically yuck. I was in a shitty mood and didn't feel like writing. So now that we're on the road again, I'll finish up yesterday.

peanut veggie wrap
Like I said, we planned on not eating lunch because we'd had such a late breakfast. So instead we had an early dinner. I used Happy Cow to find restaurants in Springfield, Missouri that would be vegan-friendly. Some local vegetarians and vegans had piped up with reviews. I finally decided on Migulito's Wrap and Roll Cafe because it was the only one that said vegan specifically. Someone had suggested the peanut veggie wrap, so I thought I'd give that a try.

It had peppers, broccoli, yams, brown rice, curry, and a peanut sauce. It also came with chips and salsa. I ended up mixing the salsa in with the burrito which probably sounds odd, but I thought it could use a little more spice, and I'm more than fond of cilantro. YUM. I posted a picture of the menu to give you an idea of what I had as well as the pricing of the restaurant. Keep in the mind the portion sizes were huge. I probably should have shared, especially since we were on the road, and transporting leftovers would have been a real hassle.

It was a cool little restaurant with some local art and really friendly owners. Mom wasn't very happy with what she had, but after working with them got something else and was much happier. They also sold fruit water for only 50 cents. Overall, I liked it a lot and would suggest it to a fellow veggie. However, I don't really know anyone from Springfield, Missouri, so what I really want to say with this, is that using your online community of veggie friends can help you a lot. I can't know that what I ate was vegan for sure unless I looked up the ingredients (especially in the sauce). But someone else said they spoke with the owners and were assured that meal was vegan, so I took their word for it... and it was awesome.

For dessert my family went to a froyo place in a college town. Lot's of people with Lois Vuitton. Anyway, with further research I found that those little fruit balls aren't vegan. :( They have calcium lactate. I'd asked someone at an Orange Leaf a while ago if they were and I was told they were because they were made with seaweed, yadda yadda. Which is true. But calcium lactate is an animal derivative. Boooo. But further research told me that the rest of my dessert was vegan-friendly. Fresh strawberries and mandarin oranges with key lime and pink lemonade dairy-free froyo.

Anyway, that's all! Leave your favorite vegan dessert recipes in the comments. I'll try my favorites and give you credit when I post it!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Food Blogging: Why Cracker Barrel Sux, and How to Be Vegan on the Road

Hey all! Some of you have expressed some confusion about veganism. Not the why, but the how. So, for the next three weeks I'm going to post everything I eat with recipes so you can try to individualize this journey for yourself. Keep in mind we're starting our vacation today, so this is some on-the-road eating. I'm also really excited about a new project I've started. I'm working hard on making a transition journal to veganism for the average omnivore. There's lots of other resources I'd be happy to hook you up with until I finish it, though. The Engine 2 Cookbook is a great resource. The Veganomicon is also a really popular cookbook among vegans. If you're really interested, be sure to contact me and I can show you some other great sources that got me going in the beginning. I tend to make up my own recipes based on what I have in the kitchen because I'm too poor to do much shopping. Thankfully that's the position I find most of you to be in as well. *College students unite!* So let's get started.

I walked the dogs for about an hour at 3 miles and hour with Mom. Stupidly, I didn't eat first. My blood sugar gets pretty low in the morning and I felt like I was going to pass out. But I made it home in one piece. Because I ran out of soy milk yesterday I had to get creative. So I made a strawberry smoothie with chocolate almond milk. It tasted like chocolate covered strawberries!
All it took was: 
1 cup of sliced strawberries
1 cup of chocolate almond milk (unsweetened)
4 ice cubes

Then I:
Blended the shit out of it and refrigerated it in a reusable Starbucks cup.

I was thankful to have it ready for me when I got home! I have a few smoothie recipes I'm pretty proud of that I'll be happy to share with you in the next few weeks. I was still hungry after that, so I made some cinnamon oatmeal.
Just mixed:
1/2 cup of rolled oats
enough water to cover it
a few shakes of cinnamon
one packet of Stevia
a drop or two of vanilla

heated it for one minute.

I couldn't finish it actually. With the smoothie it was more than enough food.

Pro Tip: One problem of mine is that I don't get enough water and I get dehydrated really easily. For me dehydration means insufferable bitchiness and shitty poop. Straight up. With the amount of fiber and lack of dairy I have in my diet I poop A LOT and without any water to grease the pipes I can get a little constipated. So I filled a water bottle with ice last night so I'd have some cold water on hand. I try to drink nothing besides water and tea to encourage more water drinking. Truth is. I hate the taste of water. Squeezing some kind of fruit inside is helpful. I love lime in my water if it's available.

Are you fucking serious?
My family had not eaten breakfast yet once we got on the road (only 21 more hours to go!), so we made a pit stop at Cracker Barrel (aka Vegan Hell). There are a total of 2 vegan items on the menu at Cracker Barrel. One is salad, which is not sold during breakfast hours, and the other is applesauce. Guess what I had! Good thing I'd already eaten.

The fact is that eating out as a vegan can be challenging, but is certainly not impossible. Googling restaurants is the easy solution. I used my phone to look up "what's vegan at Cracker Barrel?" I was then faced with articles about how shitty Cracker Barrel is for vegans. However, I still got the information I needed. Most people on the interwebz have already done the research for you. If you find that with a newer restaurant you can't find a blog post or article yet, you can always email customer service. They're almost always quick to respond and very polite (or apologetic if the situation calls for it). Those people are generally more knowledgeable than your server who smiling, suggests a chicken caesar salad or grilled cheese. I'm going to be eating out for the next few days because of being on the road. Hopefully this will give you an idea of what kinds of places you can eat at as a vegan and what kinds of things you can find on the menu.

Love me some nuts.
I'm not really a food blogger, so bear with me. I'm new to this. I also didn't get pictures of my breakfast at home because I didn't think of this idea until after. Oops. Imagine a burgundy shake and normal ass looking oatmeal. Genius.

For a snack on the road I'm going to have Simply Nuts & Fruit from Starbucks. Since we stopped for breakfast, I don't believe we'll be stopping for lunch. I'll post again later tonight with my dinner and more snacky goodness.

Peace, my friends.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Decision to be Happy

My summer at Waycross has come to an end. Things came to a close in a series of ups and downs. We held "staffirmations" (affirmations for staff). It's a big step up from my first year's affirmations. Even from last year's. Over and over people said they looked up to me, or that I was an inspiration to them. It touched my heart. And I realized that my relationship with my peers had everything to do with my change in attitude. After my freshman year, I decided to be happier and healthier. Last summer, due to that, my relationships were stronger. I wasn't as afraid to be vulnerable as I had been before. But I didn't really have it all figured out yet. Honest and kind living was new to me. I'd just come down from a tumultuous time. My heart was in repair. And I certainly won't say that I have it all figured out now. Happiness is a skill that needs tuned. I spent the past year spending time with people who lifted me up, doing things I loved, and getting my head on straight. Once summer hit, I pushed myself even further by developing my vegan lifestyle and by exercising. I firmly believe that my relationships with people this summer had everything to do with my intentional happiness. I don't really believe you can be happy while focused entirely on yourself. It's the most selfish people that are the most unhappy. I don't believe you can be happy if you focus on your conditions. What happens to us has little to do with our happiness--it's our ability to bounce back from those events that define our happiness. Once I began to embrace that, life became more exciting, and I genuinely believe I became a more accessible and better friend.

When we'd finished staffirmations, I ran through the rain, carefully holding my papers to my chest so they wouldn't get wet. The Main House was cold and empty. I wasn't prepared to let down enough to cry, but I sat in silence for a while, reading and re-reading what my friends had written about me. I was so overwhelmed. I talked with James a while then we all moved in scattered groups of two or three to the chapel. In a big circle reminiscent of staff training reflections we began our closing. We were supposed to say something we'd learned and would take home with us. I said my belief that people can change. Alex opened up in the most honest way I'd ever seen from him. Ben cried in front of us. Mallory exposed her hidden insecurities. Heather expressed her fear to leave. I'm not sure that we answered the question we were asked, but I think what was said was needed to be said. I hope everyone left a little lighter.

At dinner, Barb made us a feast. She used her mom's recipes and did most of it by herself. She made me a whole vegan tray full of things that probably cost her too much. The kindness nearly brought me to tears. Then James read aloud a letter from one of my camper's mother. She thanked us because he'd said Waycross was the first place he'd really felt at home since they moved. She said he talked about camp until he fell asleep and that he felt a part of something important. Then I cried. There had just been too much.

After that was bowling in clothes from the costume box and sleeping in the New Cabins... but I prefer to remember our dinner together. A labor of love on Barb's part and a moment of communion for us. And writing this now I'm crying again. I'm going to miss the hell out of those people. "Never to be created in precisely the same way again." I'm scared. I don't know what next year will be for me. I don't know if I'll still be a counselor or if I'll move up. I don't know if Sara will be there or who will be director. I've never felt this sense of insecurity regarding my future. It's never felt so immediate to me. I'm going to be a junior. I'm over half-way done with my college career, and all I can think is that I don't want to ever leave summer camp.
I want to get kids muddy, and hold their hands when they're homesick, and sing Love, Love, Love once a week for the rest of my life. My heart is hurting, but it was time for me to come home. I'm happy to be here. I really am. But a part of me will always mourn my second home--my sanctuary. My Waycross.
Love, love, love, love
 The Gospel in a word is love
 Love thy neighbor
 as thy brother
 love, love, love, love
 the gospel in a word is love
 love thy neighbor
 as thy brother
 love, love, love, love
 the gospel in a word is love
love thy neighbor
as thy brother.
Love, love, love.