Category About Me

The “[Crazy, Skinny, Pushy] Vegan” Theory Debunked and my Veganversary

To celebrate my one year of veganism (which is actually closer to thirteen months now, since I started March 1, 2012) I decided to write a post about Me+Veganism and a little bit more about my story. I’ve come a long way, learned a lot and made some really amazing friends along the way and am thrilled that I get to share all of this with you. :)
vegan pad thai med
(Click image for vegan pad thai recipe!)

Ladies and gentlemen: I am an semi-athletic, calorie counting, photographing, blogging, plant eating atheist and more importantly for this post is the recognition that I have never met another person that fits all of these qualities like I do. So what does that mean? It means not all vegans are the anorxeic-thin, overly pushy and downright crazy people you may have been led to believe.

But why, you ask, am I sharing this. Well, I’ve learned a lot about myself in the year since I’ve gone vegan, and I’ve learned a lot about the people that are in this community. I have also come across a lot of prejudices, hateful interactions and otherwise distasteful events surrounding this life style change. These aren’t just with people that aren’t vegan. To be honest, I’ve struggled more with some of the people within the community that I have outside of it.

It’s human to be a little put off by things that are different than what you’ve grown accustomed to and it’s against some of the most base level natural responses we have to make huge, life altering changes. It stems from this place of ignorance, and in many cases this is a willing ignorance.

Let me take a few steps back and take this step by step.


Veganism as a…

Step 1. Diet tool

I started my vegetarian (and ultimately vegan) journey as a diet tool. As I have mentioned before, I lost a whopping 110 pounds a few years back. I work hard to keep that weight off. I have a Mesomorphic body type.

Mesomorph Advantage

It is a great advantage to have mesomorphic qualities, as one has great foundations on which to build. Mesomorphs don’t have to worry too much about what they eat and they can gain muscle mass and lose weight fairly quickly with relatively ease. This combination allows the mesomorph to achieve fantastic definitely of the body.

Mesomorph Disadvantage

However, as easily as you lose fat, you gain fat also.

I have hated this about my body since the day I realized that “skinny” is in. I spent years fighting against my body, trying to force it to do what I wanted. I ate a lot, but I worked out a lot and for the most part we found a harmony. Until I stopped the exercise. College, work, boys- life took over and going to the gym or running five miles went out the window. I gained massive amounts of weight. To the point where my friends and family no longer recognized me. I was horrified.

So fatty meat, full fat cheese, fatty bar foods, lots of oil, milk, etc. went right out the window. Right next to breads, pasta, rice, potatoes, etc. I cut back to a mostly low fat cheese, lean meats and green vegetable diet (the South Beach to be exact). I lost weight. All of it. In less than a year I shed the 110 pounds. Like it was nothing. My body type speaks for itself. To maintain I realized I could eat lots of vegetables without counting calories as rigidly. I am not super skinny, as so many people believe about all vegans, but I’m finally healthy.

That is how I made it to vegetarianism. I was still uneducated, ignorant for lack of a better word, about the bigger picture that was about to come into view. That said, there are vegetarians and vegans that hold it against me. As if I am subpar. That choosing veganism for anything other than fighting against animal cruelty isn’t as good of a reason. Or that saving the Earth is “the real reason to choose veganism”. I was being beaten down by the community from step one! Don’t even bring up the ridicule from friends and family. It’s disheartening and reminds me of how I felt when I tried to learn to program. Either way, I made it through that stage and do my best not to put other new vegetarians or vegans in the same tough spot.

Step 2. Means to fight animal cruelty

The anti-meat road is one that you travel down pretty quickly, I’ve found. There is a lot of information out there about animal rights, the meat/dairy industries and how the technological revolution has changed the ways we consume our food. We now have the ability to easily over consume absolutely anything we set our eyes on. I have found hundreds of websites, no shortage of documentaries and organizations that are dedicated to the welfare of animals. A few of my “favorites” (and I use the term loosely in that these are not something to watch for pleasure or any sort of feel good idea) are:

1. Earthlings
2. Vegucated
3. Food, Inc.
4. Meet Your Meat
5. A Cow at my Table

There are so many more than these five, but it’s a good start. I cried from the moment Earthlings started until far after it had ended. I changed after that film ended. Something inside me changed radically. I had taken step two in my vegan journey. Something that had once meant I could be relatively healthy now took on a bigger meaning. When people asked, “Why are you vegan?” I could tell them, “Well, for my health…but more than that do you have any idea how those animals are treated?”

It started new conversations with my friends and family. Opened me up to a whole new part of the vegan community and, mostly importantly, taught me about myself. How callous and ignorant I had been! I found a new level of compassion and it has since filtered into the rest of my life. I treat people differently knowing how important each individual is, but also how important each species is. It’s revolutionary. Facing the system I’ve been contributing to for so many years. I am glad to have broken out of it and love sharing my knowledge and research with my friends and family, but I don’t feel like I’m a better vegan now. I’m still vegan, my conviction just comes for a deeper place now. I don’t think people that choose to eat plant based diet only because they want to be healthy are better or worse than me. Same end game, different path.

Ultimately it’s also brought me to a new step in my journey.

Step 3. Way to save the planet

My third and current step. Again, there are a lot of great documentaries and organizations working to educated the people of the world (many of the documentaries above go into some of this), but this video right here is one of the best I’ve seen. It’s cute, well put together and informative. I find it’s easy to send to people so they can take a few minutes to learn a little bit. The statistics are mind boggling.

From PETA:

Of all the agricultural land in the U.S., 80 percent is used to raise animals for food and grow grain to feed them—that’s almost half the total land mass of the lower 48 states. In the “finishing” phase alone, in which pigs grow from 100 pounds to 240 pounds, each hog consumes more than 500 pounds of grain, corn, and soybeans; this means that across the U.S., pigs eat tens of millions of tons of feed every year.

Chickens, pigs, cattle, and other animals raised for food are the primary consumers of water in the U.S.: a single pig consumes 21 gallons of drinking water per day, while a cow on a dairy farm drinks as much as 50 gallons daily. It takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of cow flesh, whereas it takes about 180 gallons of water to make 1 pound of whole wheat flour.

From that alone we can see that a meat eating diet is killing the planet and that a vegetarian (and even more so, vegan) diet is the only sustainable way for such a huge population (over 7.1 billion these days!).

I am still working on getting a lot of this research on this. I am currently working my way through this step. There is a lot of research to do. There is so much information to read, review and process. I know that the more I learn the more passionately I defend my new lifestyle and I am working toward taking on as much as I can. I feel good about what I have chose and know with complete certainty this is a choice for life. No one can talk me out of it, ridicule me enough to make me change my mind or disprove the beliefs I have now. Perhaps that sounds bull headed or silly, but I know what I know and my health, the animals involved and the planet I call home.

None of us are perfect. None of make all the right choices. None of us are better than any other. We are all in this together. Vegan, vegetarian and omnivores. Christians, atheists, Buddhists, etc. Runners, bikers, swimmers, etc. Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian, etc. There is no difference that is significant enough to make you better or worse, guys. We’re all just people. Making choices every day. As long as you strive to choose to make better choices than you did yesterday then you’re on the right path, regardless of how far down it you’ve come or how far anyone around you has made it.


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New blog!

* Hey, everyone. Sorry for the lag between entries. I have been working on a new project which is doubling as a more personal look into my life (the blog will be a little more journal-esque) and a portfolio. Go have a look and let me know what you think!


Willow & Thyme

“Just a girl and her cameras.”

Sunday Funday | Willow & Thyme

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Weekly Wednesday – Beer Me!

* In this week’s get-to-know-me edition we have the final installment of Jason’s birthday events! Just a quick note, I do want to preface this post with the following: it’s only in the last two years or so that I have developed a taste for beer and Jason has liked it for an even shorter time than that. So this entire post, this whole excursion, was going out on a limb. It was a risk to be sure, but it’s a risk that’s paid off. So onward! Into the heart of things.

For the last of Jason’s birthday outings I got him (read: us) passes to a beer making instruction class at the local Booth’s Brewing. We had an absolutely fantastic time. I was surprised by how much fun it really was to be honest. I mean, instructional courses never seem like they should be really enjoyable. If you’re teaching me to do something I should have the ability to actually do whatever it is you want me to learn, but with a group of nearly forty people that’s not really possible.

Even through all of that I did get some great photos, we tasted some delicious home brewed samples, against all odds we actually did learn how to make beer and thanks to Erika and Jared we already have a home brew kit! We have one or two more pieces of equipment that will be necessary to start but hopefully by next weekend we will be able to start the brewing process. The fermenting does take about two weeks (and in many cases much longer!) so it might be a while before you hear about this project again, but I am so excited. When you calculate the costs it’s a billion times cheaper to make your own (okay, that’s an exaggeration) and Booth’s offers clone kits in some of my favorite flavors (including Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA and Punkin Ale!). Overall it should be a fun thing to do and I look forward to sharing the results!

Photos 8, 9, & 12 taken by Jason
Photo 11 taken by Erika
Photos on Flickr and Google+


grain sock

grain sock

liquid malt


dry malt

dry malt

me making beer


e and j

j and i

photo bomb



sierra nevada clone

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Freyja Friday!

I want to introduce everyone to the newest member of our family- Freyja! This was not planned and I my head is still spinning. See, what had happened was…

I made a comment that maybe Jason and I should pick up sweaters for the boys. We found this costume online and Jason wanted to have it so we decided to head to Petsmart. Which of course instantly sent me to the adoption section with Jason’s voice in my ear saying, “Don’t get any ideas.”

It was instantly too late.

I saw this little face staring at me through the cage. Her name was Bubbles and she’s a blue eyed, siamese, natural bob-tail kitty. All her family had been adopted and she was in the cage with another little kitty who was spoken for but too light to go home yet. Bubbles was playful, spunky and beautiful. I wanted her. Period. I couldn’t leave without her. Jason told me to think about it. My answer?

“I did think about it. Just now. And I want her.” He could not say no. And we walked out with kitty in hand just thirty minutes later.

Frost has been watching her closely and Loki is a bit jealous of all the attention she’s getting, but everyone is settling in. We kept her asleep in our room for the first few nights but everyone seems to be calm enough exist together. I’m sure that soon they’ll be snuggling and lovin’ on each other without a second thought. Expect to see and hear more about her- she ‘s so amazing I can handly stand it. :)

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National Novel Writing Month 2012 – Winner!

I know I use this blog to talk about food (for the most part) but sometimes something so awesome happens in your life that you just have to share. This is one of those times for me, so bear with me and we will get back to the recipes soon, I promise.

At the beginning of November I took on a challenge that I have attempted no less than four or five times before. This challenge, National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo, is a project I learned about some eight years ago. It involves writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days or less.

Let me say that again.

50,000 words.
30 days or less.

I have tried over and over to hit the mark but have failed time and time again (’04, ’05, ’06, ’07…I cannot keep going but there are more). I had to remind myself at the end of every one of those Novembers that writing is never a failure and that any attempt is x number of words more than I would written otherwise, but somewhere deep down there was always a sense of disappointment.

But not this year.

This year, 2012, possibly the best year of my life, has brought with it a victory beyond any words (and trust me, after writing 50,000 of them I’ve had enough words for a good long time). I spent hours in my bed, living room, kitchen table, tea lounges, break rooms, etc. trying to crank out anything and everything that came to my head, and finally, after almost a decade of annual attempts this November I have finished (with three and a half days to spare!). Some days I wrote over 5,000 words and others I was lucky to top 150- if I wrote at all.

At the end of it though? I finished. I feel like a million dollars and absolutely nothing can bring me down. :)

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