It is time to “Take Me Out To The Ball Game!” I can’t tell you how excited I am that the baseball season has started again! I've been attending major league and minor league baseball games since I was a kid, and still, become giddy when the season begins each year.
There are many different reasons why people go vegan - for the sake of the animals, to help stop and reverse the damage done to our planet by animal agriculture and factory farming, to prevent or cure a disease, to improve their athletic performance, or just because people are following a trend. I’ve always believed that any path that led to veganism was an excellent path to embrace and support. But, now I am starting to feel that all of the different reasons are starting to muddy the waters about the real reason behind being vegan.
There are many promises, especially about the health benefits, that people make to encourage others to go vegan. Some people experience positive benefits after going vegan. I felt better physically and mentally, I didn’t have the stomach issues as I did while I was eating animals and animal products, and I did have a little more energy. But, my health was not a deciding factor in my transition to becoming a vegan. Those positive effects I experience were just side effects. And everyone experiences different effects or none at all. Veganism isn’t about restoring your blood pressure to normal levels or shredding weight. It isn’t about having a holistic health plan in which to turn to, or the cure for all ailments. It isn’t a diet. It is a way of life.
Many self-doubts stem from moving outside one’s comfort zone. We have been conditioned to seek and build comfort, safety, and a secure future. But in that process, we lose the ability to know ourselves and our limits honestly. In turn, we restrict the size of our comfort zone. I didn’t take many risks growing up, one because my mom was a little overzealous (I love you, Mom!) and two because I was afraid of everything! I started having insomnia and anxiety at the age of 12. It was an average level of anxiety for the most part. Failing classes, disappointing my parents and friends, not being the most popular kid in school...you know, the normal fears many teenagers face. But I was never encouraged to take risks to move past any of the fears. I held two jobs during high school and even started college classes during high school. I graduated high school early and began working full-time while attending a community college. It wasn’t until my mid-20s that I started taking a few risks - like meeting my future husband while playing an online game of Yahoo! pool, traveling to meet him, and then moving 1,500 miles away to live with him, but that was fourteen years ago, and I can say that we have been happily married for almost ten of those years. I jumped at the chance to move away from my entire family, friends, and the only life I had known to be with him. Yet, I remember being so afraid that it wouldn’t work out between the two of us that I didn’t unpack my belongings for the first six months that we lived together.
So why was I so scared after I had already taken all of the other risks?
I usually increase my reading during the winter months and recently finished three books that left me contemplating many things. But mainly, they left me with the question - what is my time worth? The books I read were, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and Meet the Frugalwoods. I have read many motivation, self-help, or find yourself type of books over the years, but these three stood out to me.
March is Women's History Month, first recognized in the United States in 1987, and March 8th is International's Women's Day. Events and recognition for International Women's Day date back to 1911, in which we started celebrating the advancements and achievements of women in the social, economic, cultural, and political outlets. A call to action is also recognized during this month to help accelerate gender parity.
Often, when people cite their reasons for making the switch to a vegan lifestyle they cite one of three reasons: their health, the environment, or animal rights. When people cite reasons for not making the switch, they suggest that they can’t give up their favorite food (usually cheese or bacon), they don’t have the time or energy to focus on such a drastic lifestyle shift, and that they don’t have the budget for a vegan diet.
But this is a huge misconception. Budgeting for a vegan lifestyle should be one of the main reasons people choose the go vegan - not the other way around. Believe it or not, there are many economic benefits to going vegan, both for the individual and the country.
The subject of food and eating animals, even though emotionally difficult to discuss sometimes, is an easier topic for me to cover. You can observe personalities, habits, and see connections by interacting with different types of animals. It is from those observations that someone might take a different perspective on how they look at and understand animals. But how do you do that with the environment? Our planet provides and sustains life to all living beings. It provides water, air, and the resources that create almost everything we see, touch, taste, and hear. But humans have tipped the balance of our environment into a downward spiral. We are using and depleting the earth’s resources faster than they can be renewed. Growing pollution, swelling waste, mounds of trash in the ocean, and stripping of earth’s natural resources can only go on for so long before a breaking point is reached. It is just like, how long can humans go without food, water, or sleep before we have to recharge and replenish to keep going. We can agree there are more environmentally friendly ways to live.
I am guessing if you are on any social media platforms, then you have heard about the trending Ten Year Challenge. People are posting pictures of themselves to see how they have aged over the past ten years. I am not sure why it became popular in 2019 and not 2020
(I mean, wouldn’t it make more sense to go from 10 to 20? Or is that just my OCD kicking in?). I didn’t partake in the challenge except to post a picture of George as a kitten and then him as an adult laying the same position. It may have broken the internet with its cuteness!
I blogged a book about conscious living a few months ago, and this is one of the most popular posts from the book! The book is no longer online, but I am hoping the book will be published soon. In the meantime, I still want to share some of the ideas from book with you!
Food has always been a defining part of my life.
I grew up in a big family, and we frequently had large gatherings, which of course centered around food. There was always a feast whether it was for a holiday, birthday, or impromptu BBQ. My mother made the best BBQ brisket and potato salad in North Texas! As an early teen, my brother and I had a competition each Christmas to see who could make the best looking and tasting dessert. I went to pastry school after graduating high school and even had my own baking business for a while. Not unexpectedly, it came as a shock to my family when I told them I was giving up meat in 2012. I am a born and raised Texan with burgers, brisket, and steak running through my veins. I had concerns about giving up meat. I was never concerned about where I would find protein or vitamins, but more about the feelings I associated with food. I mean, how did I expect to go to a Major League Baseball game and not eat a hot dog? How would I celebrate with family at our gatherings now? These were real concerns for me.
I have mentioned batch cooking and meal prep many times, but it is something I forget to do in my kitchen. So I decided to give it a go again last week! I made large batches of brown rice, tri-colored quinoa, cheesy tempeh, and un-refried beans. I also prepared kale, shredded carrots, shredded cabbage, chopped Brussels sprouts, chopped broccoli, and cut delicata squash. I made a lemon tahini dressing that I used on salads and bowls. Mid-week I made a large batch of cheesy tofu, and marinara sauce for spaghetti squash. I also used items in the pantry to save me money at the grocery store!