Recent Eats

Of all the variations of the Vegan diet, I like the Starch Solution the most. I’m pretty sure I’ve done posts on it before… but the gist is – your body literally runs and thrives on carbs. Everyone knows that by now, I think! The Starch Solution is based off of the extensive research of the China Study – in which it is proven that societies that live off mainly starches (for example – “all the rice in China”!) are living longer, healthier, and less obese lives. If you’re interested at all in it, I highly recommend reading the China Study, or the Starch Solution books.  I have actually read them myself, but I seriously hate reading, so if you do too, you can get a remarkable amount of the same information by watching any talks by Dr. McDougall on YouTube.

Ok, the point of this post is not to educate you on the science of the Starch Solution, but just to show you a selection of meals I’ve been eating lately.

To fit into the rules of the starch solution, you basically just want your meals to be high-carb, low fat. Little to no processed foods (I have occasional breads/crackers, myself). The bulk of your intake should be starches, any and all veggies—especially greens, and some fruit.

Anyway, people ask me often about what I eat, and if you don’t follow me on Instagram, you may never know! :)
So here’s some examples – Not pictured are lots of salads. I like salads, and I feel that its important to get your greens in, but they are boring and I rarely snap photos of them before shoving them into my gobbler.

Pani Puri. This is an Indian appetizer that I’ve always been obsessed with when I go to Indian restaurants. I recently found the shells for sale in an Indian grocery store, so I make the filling and the sauce at home and just go to town on them! I’ll have about 20 as a meal. The filling is similar to samosa filling if you know what that is.  It’s mashed potatoes with chick peas, peas, cilantro, and assorted masala spices. The shells do have a small amount of oil, but it doesn’t break the bank for me.

With the abundance of leftover filling, I made some samosa burritos. This is just a tortilla, stuffed with the potato mixture, and I dipped it into the tamarind/mint sauce. So filling!

These are another exotic find I ran into at an Asian market. They are called Rice Cakes. They are just SUPER thick rice noodles, made of literally just rice & water.  Imagine a very chewy gnocchi, that’s how they taste.  I heat these until soft and then toss with kimchi and devour!

Fruit is still very important! Eat all the vibrant colors!

A tasty breakfast.  This is some fat-free seeds & grains bread, topped with Engine 2 hummus (Engine 2 is a brand you want to know if eating Starch Solution!), tomatoes, and sprouts.  Side o banana.

Potato topped potatoes!

This is some thinly sliced red bliss potatoes, baked to a crisp and then topped with potatoes I had mashed with mixed veggies.

One of my favorite meals!  Rice noodles topped with tofu, and assorted raw veggies. I will toss this with a low-fat peanut sauce (made with PB2!) or some rice wine vinegar.

Quinoa tossed with sauteed onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and lemon herb seasoning. Side of celery for crunch!

Potatoes and gravy!! Who isn’t jealous of that!? I mash some mixed veggies into the taters for some brightness. The gravy is from a mix by the brand HAIN. It is fat free and vegan. If you ever see it – GET IT. Even if you’re not vegan or eating low-fat, you’ll like it.

Kale chips! Self explanatory :-)

Summer rolls. These are rice paper wrappers filled with rice noodles, assorted raw veggies, and pineapple chunks. Sometimes I do tofu as well.

An epic breakfast sandwich!  That same bread, with slices of tomato, tofu, and a patty of Gimme Lean sausage. Mmm I wish I had one right now!

Stuffed grape leaves, and a side of quinoa with onions and kalamata olives.  When I do add some fat in, its usually olives or avocado. I end up eating more fat when I go out to eat, because thats just how restaurants roll. So I try to keep it really low when I cook for myself. Hoping it all evens out!

My most typical foods, however, are not pictured here. Like I said, my staples are pretty boring and not picture worthy! But I’ll tell you that my most common meals are –
• oats w/berries & cinnamon. I’ll add maple syrup for sweetness. • salad w/any veggies I have on hand, and a low-fat dressing or hummus
• rice. Sometimes just plain (I love rice!), or I’ll top with soy sauce, salsa, beans, steamed veggies, duck sauce, kimchi.
• potatoes. Same thing, just plain (seasoned with herbs & spices) or covered in roasted veggies, a dressing, gravy, etc.

Ok, whew, I’m hungry now!

YOLO vs. LL&P

For most people, the way you eat is a reflection of how you want to live your life in general.

Do you scream out YOLO!! and eat anything and everything you want? I mean, you could die any day… should you eat what makes you happy in the moment with little regard to health?

Or do you want to Live Long & Prosper; eating for health, fitness, and longevity; in hopes of living to an old age?

How can we possibly decide?? I want a little bit of both!  It’s similar to my weight loss conundrum. Do I drop focus on the other things in my life to dedicate everything I have to losing weight and getting as fit as possible, in a sense – sacrifice a year or more of my life to achieve a body I want to live in for the rest of it?
Or, do I go the YOLO route, and just embrace being heavier and not care if it kills me earlier, because I’ll have enjoyed the time I had… as I am?

Do you see what I’m saying? This seems like an impossible decision. And though I agree that a balanced compromise is the ideal stance—for someone who is all-or-nothing like myself, that’s a near impossible task.

It is true that we only live once. It’s also true that we have a good chance of living a long, healthful life if we strive for it.  The problem is – what if we choose wrong? But maybe either option contains it’s own chance for regrets in those final moments.

Personally, I vacillate between these two principles. At times I am rigid and focused, prepared to sacrifice so much for my health and appearance. Other times, I feel content in my life and simply want to experience all the foods in whatever quantity pleases me!  The problem with going between the two is that it amplifies each one. When I am strict, I am extra extra strict because I have at times been less so.  When I am eating whatever I want, I eat MORE than I want, because of those times I was extra strict! It is such a psychological (and physiological!) trap.

I tend to feel happier on a more strict regimen, over all.  There are definitely some feelings of self-punishment, and exclusion from society. But not much, really. I do thrive on structure, so it allows me to feel more in control and safe. I stopped dieting so strictly because I simply wasn’t losing weight. So it seemed to be a bootyless treasure hunt. I see now, though, that maybe feeling like I was trying was a prize in itself. There is no pride in not getting anywhere because you’re not trying. Not getting anywhere whilst trying may be futile, but at least there’s a sense of pride in doing your best and not giving up.

So… hmm… having written it all out it seems I’ve answered my question about which I prefer.

Live Long & Prosper – it is! I’ll keep a little YOLOing for vacations and holidays. ;-)

 Anybody have a stance on this? Are you more YOLO, or more LL&P with your diet or fitness routine?

Survey Update : Nearly May!

Making: Cards! CKC Manchester (scrapbooking convention) was last weekend and Melissa and I had an awesome time as always!  We take classes and shop our wallets off. All the new items and ideas really make me flood with inspiration. So I’m anxious to get in my craft room and make more stuff!

Cooking: I’ve been a little too into peanut sauce lately. I never ever liked peanut sauce, but since I discovered that I do LOVE my own homemade peanut sauce… it’s dangerous. So… summer rolls with peanut sauce, tofu with peanut sauce, rice noodles with veggies and…. peanut sauce. It’s so bad, and I’m definitely cutting the cord on that, cause ain’t nobody need THAT much fat. (its so GOOD THOUGH)

(I take this vibrant bowl of noodles and greens… and smother the crap out of it with peanut sauce)

Drinking: I’ve had two Green Tea Frappuccinos w/coconut milk from Starbuck’s recently, and they are SO good. Again, not the healthiest, so I don’t want to  make them a thing. But on a hot day (if we ever have a hot day), one would really hit the spot!

(THIS just opened up near my house. Talk about dangerous.)

Wanting: To get my hair re-dyed. I do have an appt, but its still like 2 weeks away! So now my hair is just in that ashy sad faded phase.

Looking: Pretty decent! I organized my makeup table last weekend, and when I do that (much like my crafty stuff) it makes me feel very inspired to play with it all! I watch makeup tutorials and all that, and still have close to zero skills.  But its fun to try!

Playing: Can’t Deny My Love (and the other 2 new singles) from Brandon Flowers. ON  LOOP. Especially in my kitchen. While I shake my booty uncontrollably.

Wishing: For true Spring weather to arrive. It’s nearly May, and its still freezing cold and cloudy!

Enjoying: My Gwynnie Bee subscription! It’s been really fun trying new pieces and I’ve even bought a couple!

This is one of my fave tops I got from Gwynnie Bee. I’m wearing it today!

Waiting: To close on a house! We’re buying a house for Joel’s parents, and we had the inspection yesterday and all is progressing perfectly! Just a few weeks now and we should be done, closed, and ready for them to arrive!

Liking: That Game of Thrones is back on. It’s not my all time favorite show, but since Justified just ended (forever, BOO), and Vikings just concluded the season… its really nice to have something else that Joel & I both watch together.

Wondering: why I didn’t make a smoothie for breakfast this morning. I really wanted one, and I had the ingredients and the time. Yet, I didn’t!  What a mistake!

Loving: That Zevon is all healed up!!!!!!! I am so soooooo grateful to have my little buddy back to healthy and happy. The miracle of medical science! Amazing.

Hoping: I think of some more blog posts for y’all! I miss this.

Marveling: I’m gonna say Zevon again for this one! It honestly blows my mind how much a body can go through and still come back to good.

Needing: To get more strict about my diet. My schedule was just crazy the past 2 weeks and I let my diet get sloppy a bit. It’s Ok… but I’m over it and ready to crack down a little.

Smelling: My own coffee breath. Cinnamon Hazelnut Iced! Yummy in the tummy, a little stank in the mouth.

Wearing: Ha! That same shirt in the picture above! But purple jeans with, and my usual Hoka sneaks.

Following: Still pretty hooked on YouTube. Haven’t made any recent discoveries worth mentioning, but I tell you, it’s a trap! :-)

Noticing: So many split ends in my hair. Its like, once you see one, you can’t stop seeing them!

Giggling: Over sending a short video to Adam of me lipsynching to Bootylicious in the car this morning. It had to be done.

Knowing: That I have to poop. But I don’t feel like getting up right now. #livingontheedge

Thinking: About how I really do have to poop. Damnit, poop. YOU CAN WAIT.

Feeling: So much sympathy and fear for the people in Nepal. What a beautiful place, rich in history… just in crumbles. So many tragic deaths.  Mother nature is so incredibly cruel sometimes.

Ok, thats it for now!  It felt good to think about whats going on RIGHT now!

What are you wearing, thinking, or giggling over today?

It’s Official! EDS diagnosis

I have known (assumed) for 3 years now that I have a genetic disease called Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome. But a few weeks ago I went into the Brigham & Women’s Adult Genetics Center in Boston to meet with some Genetic Specialists to get my official diagnosis.  The appointment was easy, and mostly painless. They took a long verbal and written account of my personal and family medical history followed by a physical exam. I still have an echocardiogram looming, as problems with the heart valves are very prevalent with EDS. I’ll be having that, along with a bone density test done in the next few weeks.

The doctors were very kind and delicate in telling me that I do indeed have EDS. I imagine for people going in blind, being told you have a debilitating hereditary disease with no cure or treatment is devastating.

Luckily, I already knew. And the thing with EDS is – you’re born with it. You’ve lived with the pain and its very apparent that it will be there your whole life.  There was no surprise.  Still… having it be official does feel different somehow. Though I was 99% sure I had it, moving that number to an absolute 100% does change things slightly.  I feel like I am being forced to actually acknowledge that nothing can make it better. And also forced to realize that I can’t ignore it. I do need to protect my body more than I have been.

What most people consider to be one of the serious struggles of EDS is that it is an “invisible illness”. Unless you’re really limping that day, no one can look at you and know there is something wrong with you. It’s hard to be suffering silently. However, for the most part, I think I prefer it. I’m not sure I want everyone to know that things are hard for me. I prefer to be a mostly positive force in the lives of those around me. The hard part, personally, is not feeling helpful. I can’t really help friends move anymore. I can’t lift heavy packages into the house or pile a ton of groceries on my arm. I can’t shop for a long time, or walk a few blocks in the city with my friends.  I have to be a burden on other people,  which is the last thing I’d ever want!

If you clicked on the link to the EDS foundation above, then you likely read about what it is, and the common symptoms. If you didn’t, the basic gist is that EDS is a connective tissue disorder. Connective tissues being the glue that literally holds your body together – I’m missing that glue! Due to this, my joints are chronically loose and hypermobile. What that means for me specifically is that on a daily basis my joints are subluxating and dislocating. Hips, shoulders, elbows, jaw, knees, toes, fingers, ribs – everything – are constantly coming out of their sockets or just wobbling around in there! Sometimes its very painful, sometimes they just feel loose and I can wiggle them back into place.

Because of the joint problems, this causes severe arthritis, as well as chronic muscle spasms and tears. I have over 60 small tears in my rotator cuff and shoulder muscles! Swiss cheesey! There are a myriad other symptoms like my very poor and degenerating eye sight, dental problems, skin and healing issues, possible heart problems, and all kinds of other things. That connective tissue business? Yeah, it’s EVERYWHERE in the body!

As for the future – its just more of the same.  Treatment for EDS is simply just managing the pain.  There are no medications that can help with the connective tissues. There will be joint replacement surgeries, for sure, in the future. But I’m going to hold out as long as possible for those. There are splints for some joints that help (I have a few finger ones, they look like rings, so thats cute!), and canes and wheelchairs are always an option.

I’m making this post because a few people were very curious about the condition after I received my diagnosis, and in person, my answers are very minimal. Not because I am uncomfortable talking about it… just that I don’t want them to feel uncomfortable about it.

Anyway, if you’d like to learn more, on an easier & more personal level, here’s some really great videos from other people with EDS.

Bunny Hopkins EDS FAQ : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgMg4nr8q0Y

Rei Haycraft : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Q4juCB2GeU

Kraigisonfire : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Sdn9Xs9yJw

Cheyenne Love : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlO6U4rScmo

Kristin Means : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aVDHi0Rsec&list=PLbWHn0hRBhlSyYSeNGhy0i9faz5jtivmj 

 

Well. Awesome.

I just clicked PUBLISH on a SUPER long post. And it got lost.

Thanks WordPress, you dick!

I love you all, but I’m not typing it up again.  But I’d like to say HI!  I’m still here, and I’m feeling motivated lately. Ready for Spring, and ready to start actively trying to lose weight again.

Still formulating a plan.

Wow. Losing a whole post just sucks! Sorry!

Stop being “True to Yourself”

Being true to yourself is a lovely cliché to be used in times of decision-making,  or consoling after the decision-making. But I find the concept to be very flawed.
When someone changes things about how they live their life, treat people, or treat themselves – others tend to resist. They think those people are conforming, they’ve lost themselves, and are no longer “being true to themselves”  That resistance, however, certainly comes from a place of fear. It’s scary to watch people change from what you knew them as. What if they become different than the person you loved? What if they love you differently?  I believe the same thing happens to yourself. Maybe you want to change, but that same fear creeps in. What if I lose the persona I’m so comfortable in? What if my friends don’t support me?

Your true, authentic self is a thing you create. Sure, you’re born with all kinds of traits and tendencies. But as you grow, mature, meet people, have experiences, meet the internet… you’re going to change every single day.  You’ll like music you didn’t know before. Use new words you just learned. Form a concept of who you want to be, and show people the parts you want them to see. There’s no beautiful, perfect, essential being within you that if you dig deep enough you can feel and let it guide you. I don’t think that is what staying true to yourself is… but rather, that it should be new, and ever-changing.

Don’t be true to yourself, be true to the self you want to be.

I honestly wish that everyone felt comfortable shedding their (unhealthy) personas that they’ve created. The Party Animals – doing it because they think that people think its cool and fun. The Bad Boy/Girl. The Bitch. The Apathetic. The Homophobic/Racist/Sexist. Just because it is who you have been does not mean it is who you have to be.

Over my lifetime of being a chunker, I’ve always heard the theory about how people have a hard time losing weight because they feel comfortable and safe in their bigger bodies. It is what they know, and the unknown is too scary to face. And I always thought “Oh pshaw!” (my grandpa would say that!). “I want to be skinny SO BAD, there is no way I’m subconsciously happier like this!” You know what, though? The fear of the unknown is very real. And being a healthy weight is very unknown to me, whether I can tap into that emotion or not, I am sure it’s there… making things just a little more difficult to change.

Even changing to a vegan diet. A big part of my persona had been a true Food Lover. Exotic meats, offal, and strange things – Shannon likes those!  If a restaurant had foie gras on top of bone marrow – Shannon would love it! It was indeed a part of what people saw me as. And that had to change. Friends still take much delight in talking to me all about the meats they are eating for dinner. If I had “stayed true to myself” – I’d have kept eating meat. Instead, I took a different path, changing that truth about myself.

Truths are not constant and infallible.  And self truths are what YOU want them to be. Don’t continue to base your “true self” on who you have been historically. Base it on the current way that you think is the happiest, healthiest, most kind way of being.

You can change, and you should change.

 

PS… this post is not a vegan message. I just included that because it was pertains to me personally. The “change” I am alluding to is anything that you don’t like about yourself, or things that are holding you back.

2015 : More & Less

I’m not really making New Year’s Resolutions… but I was thinking about what 2015 will need more and less of… in order to make it an even better year than 2014. (and 2014 was a good year!)

2015 NEEDS LESS –
• Frozen
• Weighing myself
• Worrying
• Tonsilitis
• Shoulder & knee pain
• Taylor Swift
• Dog health issues
• Giving advice. If you just wanted to rant, but I try to fix all your problems – tell me to stuff it.

2015 NEEDS MORE –
• Fun
• Fashion
• Make-up free days
• Cardio
• YouTube• Starch Solution/Vegan recipes
• Nature
• Effort in the household (good lord I hate laundry)
• Game nights
• Family time
• New Peter Gabriel music

Anybody still here? Lemme know something your 2015 needs more or less of!

Literally.

Some things have always irked me. And I realize that these things make me seem like maybe I am a very elderly robot impersonating a humanoid, but I feel like some things have lost their actual meaning and are now misinterpreted.

For instance –

1.  You’re fat. 
Naw, actually – you HAVE fat. One cannot actually be fat.  You have an excess of body fat. You are overweight. You are heavy, but you aren’t fat.

fatchunk

2. Shh! Don’t say DIET, say lifestyle change.  
Ok, I am all about the sentiment of this, 100%.  But the negativity over the word “diet” has always irked me.
A diet is just what someone or something consumes. It does not, 100% of the time indicate a fad.  A pet iguana has a diet of crickets.  Zombies exist on a diet of brains and other assorted organ meats.

healthy-eating-quotes

Guess what? You’ll still have a diet during that long term lifestyle change.

3. I’m gonna loose so much weight!
Ok, so this is a typo and not a word meaning difference… but forgive me. It’s so egregious yet wide-spread, it just had to be in this list. *shudder*

5983949705_49a1106072

You probably done loose so much weight that your pants got lose and fell off.

 

4. Labels.
Plant-based, fruitarian, vegan diet, nutritarian, starch-based…

It doesn’t matter what you call it, and it shouldn’t matter what other people would call it. You don’t eat animal products. I think that is good enough.  People are so into their private sectors of diet labeling these days, and just love to argue what is best and what does or doesn’t even exist “as a thing”. Its a thing if it’s YOUR thing.  So just do your thing and call it whatever you want.

600-diets-via-wordle

Ok, I think that is it.  Not too many!  Do you have any that bug you even though they shouldn’t?

Well, hello?

photo

Damn, you guys… Where have you been?!!?

Ok.. I know.. you’ve been here all along! But then, where have I been?

Well, the usual! It’s my busy time at work right now, slowing down soon. So that leaves little time for posting. I also find that the less I obsess over my weight… the less I have to post about. I realize that is both sad and awesome.  I am, of course, quite unhappy over the state of my body currently. Though that fact hasn’t changed… it has been altered slightly. Yes I am wanting to lose weight. But I don’t feel quite as fanatically desperate over it anymore.  I feel inspired to change and motivated to reach my goals. But I don’t feel like I am so unbearably pathetic for not being at the “end goal” yet.  I think its a mix of things contributing to this newly found peace.

For one, becoming Vegan. It feels like home to me. It feels like this is what I was supposed to be doing all along. I no longer feel like I need to try so hard and search so deeply for the one diet that will be good for me, for life.  I do feel like I found it.

Secondly, I’m getting older. I don’t think one ever truly grows out of needing social acceptance… but I do think its importance wanes over time. Especially when you’ve already accrued a lovely small mass of people that love you regardless.

Lastly, my ailments. I’m finally coming to terms with the fact that I have disabilities. I used to think that my physical problems were just something to add emphasis to my story… you know? Like, “Oh, look at how far Shannon has come. She’s lost all this weight and gotten so strong, despite her disabilities!”

But ugh, whatever.  I don’t need to “overcome” anything to appear strong and awesome. Its not proving anything to anybody if I push myself beyond what is comfortable. All I am doing is hurting myself. So realizing that—yes, I do have issues—has allowed me to slow down and not expect progress that is beyond safe for myself.

So… yeah. I am here!  I am feeling like everyone else this time of the year… ready to start anew, ready to lose some more weight and feel healthier.  But I’m not doing anything dramatic. No new intense work out routine, no new fasting or extreme diet. Just… making healthier choices and sweating per usual!

Per usual… if anyone has any ideas for posts (or videos!) they’d like to see, hit me up.  I’d love some good inspirations for posting here.

Love you all…. and Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

No Frankenfoods Challenge


I survived a week of no processed foods!

It was easy, but hard at the same time!  Easy in that – I like simple, whole foods. It’s not difficult for me to eat them.  The hard part was definitely the convenience factor. We had some plumbing issues at home during the same week… so there was a day and a half where I had no clean water at home, making it hard to wash and cook my veggies.

I ended up eating out at restaurants – which of course, makes it more difficult to get just freshy fresh foods.
I ate 3 things “off-plan”.  I had sushi, which meant I had some pickled ginger, and some soy sauce. Both containing more than 1 ingredient.  I also had a few pieces of gum… totally didn’t even think of it!

The real question is… did I learn anything?

I think I did. I certainly thought that I already ate about 90% whole and unprocessed foods.  But doing this challenge showed me that is not true at all!  I went to reach for breads, wraps, pastas, dressings, and sauces more than I expected. Proving that my diet is not quite as clean as I’d thought.

I’m really pleased with the challenge, and I’m happy to have shown myself how I really don’t *need* processed foods in my diet. I do think these things have a place, but eliminating them felt pretty nice.

Though I won’t be continuing with a strict no processed foods rule, I feel confident in that I am able to greatly reduce them in my daily eats!

Here’s some things I ate this week –

Untitled

Salad, of course! With homemade avocado dressing (see below)

Assorted veggies with avocado dressing/dip. The dressing is –

1.5 avocados
fresh cilantro
fresh green onionjuice of whole lemon
salt & pepper
blended up with some water to thin it out

 

popcorn popcorn popcorn

roasted butternut squash prepared my favorite way – tossed in lime juice and fresh rosemary and then roasted til crisp on the outside.  Eaten with a baked sweet potato and some roasted baby bella mushrooms.

Boiled potatoes and carrots, sauteed spinach and butter beans tossed with lemon juice, salt & pepper.

Everything I ate was flavorful and delicious. Eating things in their simple state, or just adding a hint of citrus or herbs really allows you to taste it. Sure, I like gravy all up on my potatoes… but you know what? potatoes taste good by themselves! (believe it! strange, but true!)

I will definitely reflect back on this when I plan my meals going forward. KISS method all the way!