How To Go From Omnivore to Herbivore In Several Difficult Steps

I’m about to wade into some controversial subject matter here: I’m going to talk about food and diet. It’s pretty dangerous territory I know; so if you are feeling nervous or starting to break out in a cold sweat, just look away.

In all seriousness, I am  going to talk about my new relationship with food and how I’ve transformed from an all-American meat and potatoes girl into a *GASP* vegan.

It all started a few years ago when we went on a vacation. It was a phenomenal trip. We camped, we hiked, we went on boats and trains. We saw bison and sheep. I loved every minute of it. Unfortunately, I brought home a souvenir from that trip that I didn’t expect and it took me a couple of years to figure out what it was. Somewhere along the line, I was bitten by a Lone Star Tick. For most people it’s just a bug bite, but for the “lucky” few of us, it is life changing. This little bug can cause humans to develop an intolerance (read allergy) to a particular sugar; a sugar found in mammals. This means I am now allergic to meat; and at first, it really, really sucked.

I absolutely LOVED steak, burgers and pot roast and I was very reluctant to give up the pleasure I associated with them. I was so determined to keep eating what I wanted, when I wanted, that I would take Benedryl before going to a restaurant so I could still order a mushroom and Swiss burger with fries! Eventually, I overexposed myself to the allergen and medication no longer wards off the effects. My allergy is worse than ever. (Can you say anaphylaxes?) I have heard people talk about food and say it’s so good it’s “too die for”. Yeah, no food is THAT good. So, I gave up meat. There were a few pity parties and a little pouting. (my husband might say there was A LOT of pouting.) But eventually, I adjusted. I honestly don’t even know what a burger or steak tastes like anymore.

When I had to give up meat I switched to fish and poultry. I was not very excited about it, but it’s not like I had much of a choice. In time, it became my new normal and it was okay. Plus, I could still have cheese, and cheese makes almost everything better. Things were good…for a while.

A few months ago, I started feeling like crap every time I ate a meal. I was even starting to see a return of some of the symptoms I would experience when my meat allergy began. *SIGH* After a little more pouting and a fair bit of denial, I knew what I had to do. So about a month ago I quit eating dairy. And while I was at it I decided to go all in and I gave up fish, poultry and eggs too.

Now I’m eating things like vital wheat gluten, seitan and nutritional yeast…which all sound weird but taste pretty good. I’m discovering new seasonings and foods. I’m losing weight, I have more energy and I actually feel happier. I’m saving money at the grocery store and on eating out too. (Small town restaurants do not have many vegan options). I could go on, but you get the idea.

I have never felt better but it’s still hard and I have cheated, just like I did with my meat allergy. For example, I had fish and chips with a Guinness while on a recent vacation. In the moment, it was heavenly, but a few hours later, not so much. Once again, I’m learning about risk and reward. I am really starting to embrace this new way of eating and I’m actually thankful for my allergy; it is forcing me to make changes I may not have made otherwise. I’ve learned a lot and I continue to learn things on this journey.

Our relationships with food are complicated, emotional and personal. It’s hard to change lifelong habits that seem to be fundamentally part of who we are. I’m not particularly adverse to change and I really see most change as exciting, but that is not how I felt about changing my diet. It’s a long hard road and I’m still struggling to find my way in this new food jungle I’ve entered. Sometimes, I still want to eat the way I have always eaten, so I have to constantly remind myself of this one fact in order to keep moving forward.  There is no food that tastes good enough to sacrifice feeling good for.

 

 

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Beyond the Point Of No Return

So, a few weeks ago I wrote about a major dilemma I was having. I was trying to decide if I should take a promotion at work (and risk giving up on some dreams) or if I should simply walk away and try to make my dreams a reality. Well…I walked away.

I haven’t really started working on my plans for the future yet; I have spent the last few weeks trying to get caught up on things that had been sorely neglected during my “I hate my job” pity party and I have also been helping friends and family with some projects and events. I have worked harder and been busier than I ever was while I had a job and I love it. I love it because it has felt purposeful and valuable. I have felt like I am doing things that really matter for the people that really matter.

Very soon things will be settling down into a quieter rhythm and I will begin to turn my focus to my dreams and goals. It is going to be a slow start and I have lots of hard work to do before I actually get up and running with most of it, but I am so excited to finally be at the starting gate.

Stay tuned…the adventure continues.

The Point Of No Return

Have you ever faced a decision that seemed to be a pivotal point in your life? One that means you may be turning your back on a dream or two for the final time; and there will be no going back if you make the wrong choice…like it seals your fate?

I know, that seems a bit dramatic, but I talk a good game about all these things I want to do with my life and quite frankly, I’ve probably lived more life than I have left. I need to get busy if I’m ever going to pursue the dreams I have. I want to write, to stop being a slave to the calendar and the clock, to create and build things…but I’m so busy being someone I’m not (or someone I don’t want to be anymore) for forty-plus hours a week that I don’t do any of those things. Time seems to slip away faster than it use to when I was younger and I don’t want to get so busy “doing the 9 to 5” that I use up all the time I have and look back and regret things that I don’t need to regret.

The pivot point…I’ve been unhappy with my job and I was brutally honest with my boss about my dissatisfaction. To my surprise, instead of being asked for my resignation I was offered a promotion. I’m completely humbled to be that valued at my job, but here is the dilemma: The logical side of my brain says; “Take it! There is room for growth and opportunity to advance your career. You will be making a good salary and have a decent amount of vacation time.” That other emotional part of my brain and my heart both say; “You don’t really want that job, you just like the false sense of security it provides. There are so many other things that you want to do in this life, so much more that you want to be. If you do this, that is probably it; you won’t get to pursue those dreams and you will end up spending your life doing the safe and predictable thing. ”  So what’s a girl to do? ( Can I be a girl at 44?)

I think I know the answer (to both questions); but it scares the crap out of me. I don’t know how to step into the unknown…I’ve spent most of my life pursuing stability and avoiding risk. That strategy may have worked for me in the past (and I’m not so sure about that), but I don’t think it’s going to work for me anymore if I want to live the creative life I’ve been dreaming of. I don’t want to be afraid of taking a chance or of taking the road less traveled, but giving up that stability is so hard. It kind of feels like I’m about to take a swing on a trapeze without a safety net (I’ve never actually done that, but it sounds terrifying!) I just wonder if I really have the courage.

To be continued…

A Finished Product!

I finally finished a project!

Under(wood)Revision

So this concussion business has really slowed down every single part of my life, so I’m pretty pumped that I finally finished a project. I had to do it in small chunks because of the fatigue and aggravating brain issues I’ve been experiencing but I’m happy with the end result.

So here is the before:

IMG_3467

I found this crate at goodwill. I wasn’t sure what it would become, but I knew it had potential. I ended up turning it into a picnic caddy; you know, one of those cutesy things for the plates, napkins and silverware. (My desire for warm, sunny picnic weather may have inspired me!) I made a few modifications and added a few accessories to create the finished product.

Here is the after:

I’m pretty happy with the result and I’m excited to work on some other pieces. I think Under(wood) Revision is finally under way!

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Split Second

A split second; that’s all it takes to change everything. On January 19th, (your dad’s 60th birthday, sorry dad.) you and your daughter are making the daily trek to work. It’s winter, the roads are slippery, so you’re using four wheel drive and taking it easy; but it doesn’t matter. The Jeep losses traction and you begin to slide. Continue reading

Introducing….Under(wood) Revision

So, even though I’ve been terrible about adding posts to this blog (I’m going to be better at that) I’ve decided to start a new one.

It is called Under(wood) Revision and it’s a place I will be sharing my writing and re-purposing projects. I am hoping to establish a small business (a “side hussle” if you will) that feeds my creative side; and my new blog is the place I will share my adventures in upcycling!

I haven’t done much to the site yet, but when I get some things posted, I’ll repost here…just in case you’d like to check it out.

Happy Tuesday!

Doing What’s Necessary

I’ve been struggling with this notion of “living my dreams” and “pursuing what I love”. I mean, I dream of doing some pretty great things and I hope I get to live those dreams out, but I can’t just drop everything to pursue them. Maybe some people can, but I have responsibilities and people who depend on me…so right now, I need to do what is necessary.

This is what my necessary looks like, and I’m not super excited about it. I don’t jump out of bed, chomping at the bit to get to the necessities of my day. I am NOT, let me repeat that, N.O.T. a morning person. But, I haul my cookies out of bed at 5:30am, five days a week to go to work. (I have a pretty good job, but it’s a job, not a passion.) I also hate being a slave to routine, but, those five days a week look very much the same. I get up at the “butt crack of dawn” (my friend Dawn hates it when I say that.) get  ready, drive an hour, do my job all day, drive another hour and then I’m home, ready to start the process all over again the next day. Sometimes it seems very much like Joe vs. the Volcano. Quite often I feel like I’m dragging myself through the week just trying to survive to the weekend. I know this sounds like a giant pity party; but stick with me, I’m going somewhere good with this.

Here’s the thing about what I just said and how awful I made it sound; if I keep it in proper perspective, it’s really not so bad…for now. I do these things for some very good reasons, but I won’t have those reasons forever. And when the reason is gone, the thing that was a necessity becomes a choice. If I start making plans and taking small steps to chase my dreams and loves now, I may actually get to engage in them a little ways down the road. If I can just focus on the fact that I’m doing the necessary things now so that I can choose to pursue the dreamy things later, the necessary things become part of the dream; they are stepping stones to what I really want to pursue.

And that dragging myself through the week part; I just need to check myself on that. I need to do a better job recognizing and relishing in the bright spots during week and not letting all that routine and necessity bury them.

So, here’s to my necessities and the dreams they are ushering in!