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The Red Nose Chronicles

Vegan In A House Of Carnivores: Definition From A Favorite

I was doing a bit of dinner research trying to find a vegan dish that my carnivores would also eat when I wandered into a post about the difference between vegan and plant based lifestyles written by one of my favorite cookbook authors.

Hmmm...I may have to change my food label for myself (she says while adjusting her leather purse). My diet is plant based...entirely.

But...I am not as conscious about things like leather for shoes or handbags, wool or silk items of clothing nor am I caught up in the politics of animal organizations. But do we value the lives of animals? Absolutely.

We eat a little honey albeit locally sourced and we still wear leather shoes. Most all our beauty or household products are free of any animal products and are not tested on living creatures. We donate to animal charities with our dollars and our actions. Everyday we strive to do better.

I love Lindsay's recipes...we cook from this one quite often...

 

All "plant based" and EASY! Pumpkin biscuits, raisin muffins, Thai lettuce wraps, peanut sauce, salads, burgers....all kinds of things! (as of today 11/17/2016 if you have a kindle you can order this digitally for $1.99!)

Anyway...I'm off to cook something...all this talk of "plant based" food has made me hungry!

 

Until next time,

Susan

Vegan in a House of Carnivores: Episode 2

It's been a little over 18 months since I started my vegan journey. If you read through my first post  then you have a sense of what being the only one of four that follows the same diet. But today I want to talk about how I got here.

After several years of not loving being a meat eater I knew that I was on the verge of change. But you know how you can feel change coming but try to ignore it? Denial isn't just a river in Egypt...lol. Yeah, well the universe had other ideas.

Hot flash

Maybe five years ago I began having peri-menopause symptoms. About four years ago those symptoms decided to be  even more present...and bothersome...and more constant. Add to that I was dealing with (and still am) some joint pain and you are put in a position of doing something. My something was to play with my food intake.

First I gave up all processed foods and white sugar. That helped a lot. Second I cut back on (but didn't quit) caffeine which also had an impact. I bought a bread maker and started making all our baked goods from scratch and with American grown wheat. We made eating foods that are green a priority and juiced quite frequently. Eventually all our meals were made from scratch (time consuming) and everybody felt better in some way

Along the way a friend going through the same thing talked about Maca root and how that had helped her...so I gave that a try. Worked like a charm! (please don't run out and try anything without consulting your physician) Actually worked for about 2 full years. No hot flashes or night sweats...was a beautiful thing. Until it wasn't.

In between here somewhere I found a new doctor. An integrative doctor. They take your entire lifestyle into consideration and prescription drugs are not the first line of defense...which is exactly what I wanted. No drugs but a lifestyle modification.

So I went vegan. All at once.

And a funny thing happened. Most of my symptoms either disappeared or dramatically reduced.

It took about 6-8 months to really grasp the differences. First it was small things like waking up easier and falling asleep quicker. Then it was no night sweats (which had come back with a vengeance when my body didn't like the maca anymore). Hot flashes quit. ( yay!)

Joint pain and joint flaring was still an issue. And sometime debilitating. As an example my shoulder would flare and I wouldn't be able to lift an arm for the better part of a day without yelling in pain. So my new doc suggested we do some food elimination. So in addition to vegan I went gluten free for about 6 months.

Let's just say this was not my favorite time. Try not eating any animal products...no meat, dairy, cheese, yogurt, etc. then add to that anything with wheat or flour in it. Have you looked at ingredient list lately? Gluten is in EVERYTHING! No pasta, no bread, no crackers, bagels...you get the picture. It's a whole new diet and one that took quite a bit of research.

At the end I didn't feel much different without the gluten. I have added a full regimen of vitamins. You'd be surprised how many things your body is missing. Make sure your doc does thorough blood testing! I feel like a different person.

Maybe you want a change..in how you feel...in your well being? Try some food experimentation...you never know how much better you can feel until you try it!

 

Until next time,

Susan

Creative Schizophrenia: Let’s Talk

Sooo...anybody familiar with creative schizophrenia? Anyone have an artsy habit they can't quite corral into one genre? Do you feel like your creative endeavors are wanting you to do everything...and nothing? Well...let's talk.

This can get bad...like really bad. (and that makes me want to do this...)

Martinis are vegan!

Martinis are vegan!

 

I find myself wanting to create for my jewelry line so off to the studio I go. I arrange my things, start with an idea, begin putting it together...and boom! All of a sudden my paint starts calling my name...what if when this thing is done I paint it? So I go get the paint out and start playing with that. Halfway through I notice there's a piece of fabric on the floor...oooh! That might work too. Maybe I can sew it together for a packaging idea. So I play with that for awhile. Out comes the sketch book so I can see if my ideas will work together. What about ribbons? What if this thing had some tied onto it? And out comes some ribbon. Oooh...but maybe it needs resin? Maybe the pieces would look good glossy...and layered....and ...and....and...

By this time I am working in four square inches of my table and not much is getting completed.

 

messy worktable 1

 

What is it with this? And what are your tried and true ways to keep your creative schizo self in check? Bah....

Here are a couple of things I find helpful when I cannot for the life of me get this under control...

  1. Set a timer and a simple goal...for instance I want to ready some of my shrink plastic. I set my phone timer for 20 minutes and that's all I do until the timer rings. Guess what? I finished something!
  2. Clean or organize. Again I might set my timer for this or just make note of the clock then find a spot to re-organize. Moving things into order allows me to clear my brain and do a sort of re-set. I do this for about half an hour and find that my brain is much more ready to focus on the task at hand.
  3. Go do something else! Maybe it's time for lunch or a snack. Perhaps laundry needs some attention. Have you talked to your Mom lately? Choose anything that has nothing to do with whatever task you were having issues with.

Those are my three go to's when I get stuck inside my creative schizophrenia brain. Inevitably one will work and I can get back to accomplishing things.

Try it and let me know how it works for you...or maybe you have a better idea? Would love to have you share it!

Until next time,

Susan

 

 

Two Shows in One Weekend: The Aftermath

So...I still feel like I am recovering from two shows in one weekend. Glitterfest and the Bernardo Winery show were both scheduled together. Oy...

This doesn't happen every year. Only maybe once every three or four. No matter how you slice it it's stressful.

I finally got my mojo in gear about a month beforehand and created like a maniac right up until the very last moment. Thursday night I packed my car for a Friday set up at the winery.

Cart full of junk

My husband helped out and we set up my booth plus a friend of mine who vends in the tent next door. Took us the better part of three hours to get it all together. Then home again, home again...only to unload the car and reload the car for Saturday's Glitterfest.

More junk

Saturday we divided to conquer the show world. Boys to the Winery and girls to Glitterfest.

Glitterfest Girls

I have to admit I don't have many pics from the Winery this time. First day the boys took maybe one picture and day two I spaced completely. Whoops....but both were a great success. Crazy to do but both worked out well.

And even with all the planning, making, and stresses it was over in a flash! All of a sudden it was Monday and all that was left was the mess!

...and more mess with junk!

Thank goodness everything is pretty much put away now. But I'm about to do one more show...so some things are still hanging out here and there. Last in person show for the year will be at the Irvine Fine Arts Center in Irvine California...maybe I will see you there...???

Until next time,

Susan

 

Vegan in a House of Carnivores

It's been about 18 months since I made the plunge into a vegan diet. Not because I have an emotional attachment to animals, although I do on some level, and not necessarily to help save the planet, which I do think needs all the help it can get, but I did it for health reasons (menopause is no joke) and how it made me feel. That's not to say, even though they all knew the reasons, that my family thought I'd lost it. (you can see how excited Paul is)

Thrilled!

All they could see was a life without bacon or hamburgers, no more steak on the grill or sausage sandwiches, and oh geez...no eggs! When I tried a two week trial vegan diet out for size on the entire family it lasted about ten days before my son came to me in tears. "Mom...(sniff, sniff) do you remember (tears, sniff, sniff) when you used to cook with meat?" True. True story.

What! No bacon??!

What! No bacon??!

 

So you have to come to grips with the fact that you live with a bunch of carnivores. How does that work if you don't eat animal products and you do all the cooking, grocery shopping, etc.? One could say very carefully...but really it just takes creativity and extra hands when you have to deal with things you don't want to deal with. Like cut up chicken for the gang and not touch it...you designate one of the carnivores.

Martinis are vegan!

Martinis are vegan!

 

Meals are planned (most of the time) so everyone can have what they like and I am not driven absolutely mad by cooking like a crazy diner chef. Things like mexican style spicy hamburger alongside a pan of black beans made with the same ingredients minus the obvious. Or Jerk chicken...again substituting beans for the bird stuff but using all the same ingredients in both.

Tyler eats vegan

Even Tyler likes vegan.

 

There are times that the whole family eats vegan. Do they always know it? No. Too many things are pretty good replicas so there's no need to spill the beans (so to speak). Once I committed to this I found some great resources with recipes that work for all of us.

Samosa Style Potatoes

Samosa Style Potatoes

 

Let me share some. Maybe you'll give it a try...

My absolute favorite and go to recipes are from  Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Another go to book, especially if time is tight, is from the Minimalist Baker (they also have a fabulous blog)

Minimalist Baker's Everyday Cooking: 101 Entirely Plant-based, Mostly Gluten-Free, Easy and Delicious Recipes

Again great, easy recipes that pride themselves on being able to be done quick!

Third, but equally as good, is Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen: Traditional and Creative Recipes for the Home Cook

Now we happen to LOVE Indian cuisine and this gal translates all your favorites into vegan yumminess. I have this on my IPad because I cook from it so often.

There are many more that I've come to love and rely on. Next time let's talk about baking. Sweet stuff...everybody's favorite!

If you try any of these let me know what you think!

 

Until next time,

Susan