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.

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.