Hi! Sorry for the silence the past few weeks. I have been planning, preparing, and then enjoying my 10th wedding anniversary trip! We celebrated ten years of wedded bliss in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia. I am still floating on a cloud thinking about each fabulous day. We spent time exploring the cities on foot, bus, and water taxi. We hit up the Vancouver Veg Expo on May 5th, and sampled so many new foods that I haven’t seen in the states - like Un-Brie-Lievable cheese by Nuts for Cheese, NoochPop, and Laiki Black Rice With Cheddar Crackers (which will pair phenomenally with the Un-Brie-Lievable if there are any left once we open the cheese). We found every vegan nook and cranny in Victoria, and the biggest jewel we found was Pure Lovin’ Chocolate located on historical Fan Tan Alley. They make vegan, gluten, soy, and preservative free deliciousness using Fair Trade sourced chocolate. What an incredible find!
The American Heritage dictionary defines a vegan as a vegetarian who only eats plant-based foods, and avoids using products deriving from animals. In other words, a “vegan lifestyle” is the avoidance of any animal-derived products for food, clothing, entertainment, commodities, transportation, beauty, fashion, or experimentation, whereas a “vegan diet” describes what vegans eat. Some people go vegan for ethical reasons (human and non-human animal protection and environmental ethics) and others subscribe to a plant-based diet as a means to improve their health. No matter the reasoning for going vegan or plant-based, there is a positive impact on the world.
There is a crossroad of running and veganism. More and more runners are going vegan at the same time more vegans are becoming runners. From Fiona Oakes to Carl Lewis to Catra Corbett to Scott Jurek to Madi Serpico to Rich Roll, it’s becoming more common to see vegan runners, among other types of athletes.
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.
The night of September 11, 2015, is still as vivid as if it were yesterday. Steve and I ate dinner and watched TV as we usually did. We played with the cats and all of our foster guinea pigs. I, for one, had a particularly fun playtime session tickling Sunshine that evening. That was our thing.
He played hide and seek with Steve, and would try to make Steve feel like he picked a good hiding spot even though Sunshine easily found him each time. But with me, he would get my attention and then run around before throwing himself on the floor and rolling over on his back. That was the signal that he wanted me to tickle him. I would say, “I’m going to get you, I’m going to get you Sunshine,” while pinching my fingers together above him. He would squirm around on the floor and then squawk like a little duck when I finally tickled him.
He would then bounce up like a tightly wound spring uncoiling, run around, and then throw himself on the floor again. It was our special time together, and my fondest memory of Sunshine. You see, he and I had a rocky start. He was living the good life with Steve until I decided to move in with George and Layla in tow. Not only did he now have to share his Dad, but he also had to share his litter box, his bed, and his food! There were many nights I would wake up to find Sunshine sitting on my chest staring at me. I knew he was asking me what the hell I thought I was doing in his spot and when I was leaving and taking the other two fur balls with me. It took a few months, but he finally came around to the idea of us all living together. We became best buds, but Steve was always the twinkle in his eye.
You probably have heard me use the terms solutionary, vegan, and/or plant-based, but what do they mean and what are the differences? Veganism and plant-based terms are somewhat interchangeable, but they do hold completely separate values. A person who follows a plant-based diet may or may not subscribe to living animal-free in their entire life as a vegan would. It could be that a person following a plant-based diet is doing so for personal or health reason. The Vegan Society defines veganism as, “Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose." I came to learn about the term solutionary through the Institute for Humane Education (IHE). As I mentioned in a previous post, they define a solutionary as, “A person who identifies problems, and their underlying systems, and then develops solutions that are just, humane, and sustainable for people, animals, and the environment, and who strives to make personal choices and to support systems that do the most good and least harm for all."