What We’re Eating!

We’ve had a great weekend in Chattanooga walking and eating and drinking WAAAY too much beer. (Seriously. I’m detoxing this week to save my liver.)

I wanted to share some of the cool eateries we’ve visited to keep up with the NaBloPoMo daily posting requirements.

Five Bar – We went there for drinks and it was a nice atmosphere with small but good menu. They also support a charity that feeds the hungry with a percentage of all purchases, so that’s cool.

Taconooga – If you’re local to Huntsville this place felt just like the Original Bandito Burrito. We had fried cactus which was AMAZING. Good, simple, authentic Mexican food.

Cashew Vegan Cafe – This is a standard stop for me in Chattanooga. I love their nachos.

Sluggo’s Vegetarian Cafe – This was a new try for us and it was great. HUGE variety on the menu and tons of interesting things. Nice atmosphere…I just felt cool being there.

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Today is when.

So, if you go to a consult with a surgeon about a breast reduction (I AM NOT GETTING A BREAST REDUCTION) they encourage you to try losing weight first as surgery may not be necessary. If you go to a consult to have a lap band procedure they make sure you’ve at least tried changing your diet first. In general – the rule of thumb is always try the lifestyle changes before the medical solutions because medical solutions are not always a good answer and have risk of other problems.

I tell you all of this because today I’m going to try to find a therapist. But, because of my fear of prescription medications (another entry for another day) I want to go ahead and make sure I tackle some lifestyle changes so that if it comes to that, I can feel certain I’ve really tested out my running theory about my eating habits and my emotions. BAD FOOD MAKES ME FEEL BAD.

I know, it’s a crazy theory and probably won’t pan out.

But I’ve been feeling really bad lately. And I’ve been feeling really bad at some level for awhile now and I’m certain it runs much deeper than my diet but I’m just as certain my diet is not making it any better. Here’s a sidenote: The funny thing is about my emotional plummet is that I feel like I’ve been a much better Mom lately. Somehow as my sadness grows and taints my every thought, I’ve become more patient and understanding and involved with my kids. So, that’s interesting. Let’s hope as I work through these issue the good parenting sticks around as I’d hate for the kids to be all, “It’s weird. Mom is so much nicer when she’s randomly crying all the time.”

IMG_3414I know the extreme sadness relates to this month. March will always be “the month we watched Dad die” but it’s only March 10th and that means I have 3 more weeks and if my sadness has darkened my days this much already? The next 3 weeks are going to be terrible. SO. Today is when. Today is when I try to get a handle on my health again so I can tackle the sadness that has engulfed me. TODAY IS THE DAY I INGEST THIS VERY EXPENSIVE POWDER THAT LOOKS A LITTLE LIKE DEHYDRATED POOP.

I tried to do a sugar detox a few years ago and I didn’t even make it 24 hours before my anxiety and depression flared up so bad that I thought I was going to need to be sedated. It was BAD, y’all. I joke about it all the time, “Proof I’m addicted and probably should give up sugar…” but it was NO JOKE. I’m not trying a full detox (and I had plenty of fruit on that terrible day) because I need my coffee how I like it so I don’t lose my will to live (that’s not too much of an exaggeration) but I’m reducing the sweetener I use a bit and I’ll still use my energy powder mid-day because without my other stimuli I’ll need that (and it has some sweetener in it) but other than my sources of energy, I’m removing sugar from my diet. I’m removing beer except for one at Anaheim Chili when we eat there on Saturdays. I’m going to attempt clean eating as much as possible, but since I haven’t tried, I’m not sure what road blocks are out there. I want to show up at my first therapy appointment and be able to say, “I have not been eating crap for X days” so that they can rule out any chemical (food related) cause for my emotional instability.

And if that emotional instability wanes with the bad eating? Then my theory was right and hopefully I won’t need any prescription treatment for my current episodes of anxiety and depression. And if my theory was wrong and I still feel terrible, I can carefully walk into that arena (because of the aforementioned fears) knowing I did everything I could do first.

But I need you all to hold me accountable. If I don’t come back tomorrow with a follow-up outlining my progress in finding a therapist (it took more than a few days when I was looking for one for Wesley) and a report that I’m sticking to my “Eating for Happiness” nutrition plan, then I need you to call me out. I NEED A THERAPIST, Y’all. I don’t feel like outlining the exact reasons why, just please trust me. Kim’s brain in March is always a bad place to be but this March is a million times worse.

And the damn time changes this weekend which makes it all SO MUCH MORE TERRIBLE. I love the early sunrise, I hate our stupid daylight savings takes that one joy away from me.

So, here’s to braving the phone and calling to find a therapist. Here’s to Eating for Happiness. Here’s to trying to go for a run this morning (having some issues after running 40 miles on Saturday) (those “issues” are me not wanting to run) and hopefully succeeding. Here’s to finding joy and not losing the good parenting habits I’ve picked up while engulfed in my own sadness. Here’s to f*cking daylight savings. Here’s to surviving March.

Be Better.

Hank Green did this video about “Why Are Vegetarians So Annoying” and while I didn’t like the premise/title (I really don’t know any annoying vegetarians, I know way more annoying meat eaters, honestly.) I do like part of he explored about how we all kinda make shitty ethical decisions every day because our joy outweighs our momentary ethics. (He phrases it much better of course.) And I think about that a lot in terms of my eating and why I do not like the word vegan. I am 100% vegetarian but I probably only eat vegan 90-95% of the time, depending on the day. Partly because I don’t research pre-packaged food, partly because I like donuts, and partly because I still haven’t found a good substitute for my coffee creamer.

But if I even PRETEND to use the word “vegan” people suddenly take the defensive like I’m attacking their edible morals or something. I guess because no one chooses to be vegan without at LEAST a little moral motivation. It’s never 100% health related. And because of that, non-vegans feel like you’re immediately judging their lack of morals. Just like on the days I forget my reusable bags and the lady in front of me has hers and I feel the need to explain: I USUALLY USE REUSABLE! I PROMISE! Because I assume she’s judging me. And often I’m so paranoid I’ll buy more reusable bags.

But you know what else I do a lot? Hit the drive-thru at McDonald’s for French Fries and Diet Coke. Not only am I putting my money towards a huge conglomerate instead of a local eatery (we normally restrict eating out to local haunts) but I’m also eating REALLY SHITTY FOOD. I also buy super-cheap clothes at Target which were probably made by some small child in some poor community on the other side of the globe and I’m all, “Please put those pants in my reusable bags because I care more about what I put in the landfill than I do about the kids who made the pants I’m buying for $7.”

And maybe there are people out there who eat entirely local and plant based and make their own clothes and buy local wares and are 100% ethical with their spending and their eating and if they exist? GOOD FOR THEM. But my reality does not allow for that. I was overhearing someone talking about some deal on baby clothes and they mentioned some sort of something (a brand? A style?) on Etsy and the pants were only $10 and I was thinking, “Oh, man. This person is spending more on their baby’s pants than I do on my 8-year old’s pants.” And their pants were probably way more ethically made but I could not afford to put my baby in $10 pants.

So we all fight our own battles and sometimes we make the easy decision because it is – in that moment – easy.

But every year I try to start making harder decisions. The carrying of reusable bags, the trips to the recyclery (our curbside doesn’t take glass and we drink a lot of beer), the mostly pant-based diet, the rule about only eating out at Local Restaurants…but I still buy cheap Suave conditioner because I tried to be ethical about my cosmetics but I got lazy and it got expensive.

I guess the point is to just make sure at any given moment in time I’m trying to be BETTER about something. It’s overwhelming if you think of all of those things at once, but 10 years ago I wasn’t doing any of them. And my kids are growing up HOPEFULLY thinking about these things too. Of course I’m 99% certain my oldest is not recycling in college…but I try not to think too much about that.

So I’m going to try to do better. I’m going to just really think about my decisions in how I spend my money and consider if this is TRULY the only option or if this TRULY makes me happy. (The donuts and french fries make me happy – I PROMISE.) But that $7 pair of pants? Eh. It was a really good deal but I’m not sure it was worth it, honestly. And then I wonder, but if that factory cranking out those cheap pants didn’t exist…where would those kids work? I DON’T KNOW. Just like how I don’t eat at Jimmy Johns because the owner brags about hunting big game in Africa and it freaks me out but I know people who worked there and honestly – if it closed – where would they work? I don’t know. It’s all kind of a mess and sometimes I think my Dad had the right idea that if we could get along and not be assholes, commune living was really a good set up. Someone sewed, someone cooked, someone taught the kids, someone fixed the plumbing etc. But Dad didn’t like a lot of people and he had a tendency of being an asshole so he knew he’d be the one to spoil it for everyone.

So, I’m going to try not to think TOO big picture or I get overwhelmed. But I would like to try to be more ethical with my spending. I’ve tried before and failed but it took us awhile to make recycling a habit, and reusable bags, and veganism. So maybe I just try again. Try to be make the steps towards “BETTER” more than the steps towards “SHITTY” because then at least I’m moving in the right direction…no matter how long it takes me.

1 Year A Lazy Herbivore

Dammit. I wrote this long post about being a “vegan” for a year and then WordPress ate it. My blog post is not vegan, WORDPRESS.

I have to start my workout so now you get the short version:

  • It’s been a year since I went Lazy Herbivore!
  • Settled in around 99% Vegan (but 100% vegetarian) because I don’t google ingredients to make sure things aren’t animal-derived and sometimes I eat things with dairy or eggs because it was made for me and I don’t want it to go to waste.
  • Biggest Surprise: Donnie has become, essentially, vegetarian and maybe 80% vegan? By choice!
  • Love the Gardein fake meat products b/c the kids love them!
  • Still don’t like the word vegan because it makes people seem to want to prove I’m really NOT a vegan by asking me if I wear leather shoes. I don’t wear leather shoes but I do wear wool socks.
  • I also periodically eat honey.
  • Definitely sticking with it forever.

Sorry this post sucks now. It was a lot longer and had some funny in it. DAMN YOU WORDPRESS.

Beans and Greens – Lazy Herbivore Style

I’ve been working on three different recipes lately – all involving my crockpot and beens and some green vegetable. I thought I’d share them with you. As always – please remember this is NOT a recipe blog. I never do anything the exact same way twice because I’m lazy and that would require writing something down. These are GENERAL recipes and APPROXIMATELY what I do each time but if I’m out of something, or if I don’t have the right time frame, things change constantly. I rarely strain beans, sometimes I sauté onions to add in, sometimes I add garlic. It’s a wonderland over here, people. Don’t come for the recipes.

All of these would be perfect cooked on low for about 4 hours…I think. My crockpot overcooks and I now work all day so I set my crockpot for 6 hours and it keeps it on warm until I get home, but I always feel like things are a bit mushy for my taste. If I were doing this on the weekend? 4 hours on low – max. Also – I eat all of this for lunch all week, so if you’re cooking for just one meal with a 4-person family? You will have leftovers.

Mexican Beans and Greens! Black Beans and Spinach

  • 4 cans of Black Beans
  • 3 cans of Rotel (I use 2 original, 1 hot)
  • 16 oz bag of frozen corn
  • 16 oz bag of cut spinach
  • Enough water to make sure everything is just covered. If you like it more like a soup? Fill the pot to the brim with water.

Dump it all in the crockpot for 4 hours on low. (If you’re gone all day, tell it 6 hours on low and it stays warm until you get home.) The BEST way to eat this is to really strain the fluids and wrap it in tortillas like burritos! But, I’ve also cooked some quick rice to go with it AND I’ve eaten it straight out of a bowl. One other thing I’ve done which may not sound good to ANYONE but me: Slice a green pepper in half. Strip the innards out. Heat sliced pepper in the microwave for 2 minutes if you have a sensitive stomach and can’t handle raw vegetables. (ME! ME! ME!) Scoop some of this stuff (with a slotted spoon to let the fluids drain) into the peppers. Eat it by slicing and then you get some crunch pepper mixed with the Mexican goodness and it’s LOVELY!

OPTIONS! The Lazy Herbivore is all about variety. As long as it’s easy variety.

Cajun Beans and Greens! Black-eyed Peas and Okra

  • 4 cans of black-eyed peas
  • 3 cans of Rotel (I use 2 original, 1 hot)
  • 1 carton of vegetable stock
  • 1 bag of frozen okra
  • 1 Tbsp of Cajun season (if you like it HOT! I forgot the cajun seasoning last week and it was fine. #WhyIAmNotARecipeBlogger)

Dump it all in the crockpot for 4 hours on low. (Since I’m gone all day I tell it 6 hours on low and it stays warm until I get home.) If I’m doing this on the weekend and not in a hurry? I’ll sauté some onions to throw in there too. I like cooking white rice and mixing all of this together to make it really like gumbo. BUT! Rice takes forever so if Donnie doesn’t get home before me to start the rice, I just eat it plain in a bowl.

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Southern Beans and Greens! White beans and Collars

  • 4 cans of white beans (I’ve used Cannelini, Pinto, and Northern…all work great)
  • 1 carton of vegetable stock
  • 1 16 oz bag of cut frozen collards
  • 1 packet of Knorr’s vegetable soup
  • Enough to keep everything covered

Dump it all in the crockpot for 4 hours on low. (Since I’m gone all day I tell it 6 hours on low and it stays warm until I get home.) This is okay with rice too, but this one really is my favorite just to eat it in a bowl OR! OR! OR! If you’re not vegan? Whip up some cornbread to go with it. YUMMY. I miss cornbread. (Don’t bother with vegan cornbread recipes. I miss the standard, blue box cornbread. I don’t like cornbread in general so I probably wouldn’t like the vegan variations.)

Why Share Such Unorganized Recipes, Zoot?

I have no idea why I share with you all these type of “WHAT I AM EATING!” posts since I’m so crappy at keeping recipes. But these three things have all become a staple because they’re easy, they make dinner ready when I get home, and I can serve them in different ways for a variety. But most importantly? LEFTOVERS. I take lunch to work every day and taking leftovers is way easier than anything else.

I love recipes that have beens and some other vegetable mixed in. The more the merrier! Do you have any other combinations I could try?