April 18, 2007
share the road
To travel by bicycle is a humble, nonaggressive way to get close to people. It is a way of saying we are passing through with no thought of invasion or conquest, only the simple will to share a part of the road. ~Claude Herve
the art of being vulnerable
City riding is a continual lesson in feminine principles, in particular the art of being vulnerable. A confrontational, macho aesthetic spells calamity. You must learn to yield, to dodge, to seek harmony. You are obliged to mind the web of interrelations, that complicated mesh of interests, conflicts, intentions.
~Chip Brown, A Bike and a Prayer, 1988
April 17, 2007
I don't need to label myself anything. I can get a salad almost anywhere. I just need to pick and choose my battles. Show some self-control on the meat and dairy and starch. I've shown before that I can.
It occured to me this am that all of this is not about labeling myself. This is my brain's sneaky way of saying "hey, the house is on fire, and you better do something quick, so maybe you should question your dedication to veganism". I can't really talk about what's going on at home right now, but suffice to say, I am stressed to the point of having no short-term memory, and thinking about it is so, well, distressing that I sort of shut down.
So I guess that it makes sense that I would just decide that yesterday was the day to make black and white decisions, state my allegiances, etc., rather than recognizing that I live in a grey world, and very little is really black or white.
Though, I've been reading about veganism and the whole argument against using wool. I'll be honest, I really thought it was silly. I understand when you make most types of silk, you kill the worms. But you don't kill sheep, right? Errrrr... Anyways, I think that I was wrong, and sooner or later, I'll see the errors of my ways.
This is when I wish I had this strong moral core that would say, of course I won't buy yarn for knitting again! Of course I won't thrift for wool and cashmere sweaters! But wool, damn, wool is just the greatest fiber: warm, stretchy, responsive. Of course, it probably does work best for the sheep.
I'm looking forward to some lentil soup and some salad tonight.
April 16, 2007
Is it just this simple?
I am so on the fence right now.
I want to be vegan. I want to. I felt better, I was losing weight, etc. But I'm finding that I need to make some permanent lifestyle changes to make that work, and permanence takes time and work.
Initially, I had thought, one non-vegan meal a week. That will work. And it should work.
The problem is, we go out to eat. I want to go out to eat. And generally, there just aren't such great options when you're eating out. For instance, last night: a fakin' bacon sandwich. It was good, but let's not kid ourselves: it's junk.
I love eating out. A whole lot of my self-definition is wrapped up in writing about Portland eateries. And it's clear to me that I don't really want to eat junk.
If I could eat out like I eat at home, I'd be all set. How's about some vegan bean soup and a nice big salad? That would be great. But I'm lucky to just get half of that.
I love mexican taquerias, and let's face facts, everything has meat and/or cheese in it. So do I just go to Mexican places for splurge meals?
I didn't realize this was all on my mind until I dominated a lunch with an acquaintance with talk about trying to balance it all out.
In some ways, in hind sight, the 6 weeks was easy because I knew what I was supposed to do. It was for a set amount of time. Cut and dried. Now, I've just got guidelines.
Anyways, I want to make some decisions.
So, a couple steps forward, a couple steps back.
This weekend, I ordered chilaquiles without cheese or sour cream. Now, it's quite possible that the sauce had some dairy in it, but this felt like a good compromise. Sweetie and I got a good walk in. And then, on Saturday night, we went to Dots and I had a cheeseburger. Typical. The next morning, chilaquiles with cheese and sour cream. And then the fakin' bacon sandwich.
Today, I had an orange and a bunch of pineapple, as well as my usual smoothie. Then for lunch, I went to a vegan-raw restaurant. I should have gotten a salad, I should have, but I ended up with a bowl of rice, beans, and chard. I tried their raw coconut milk soup, a ricepaper roll, and some cashew hummus & pepitas pate. It was a good meal, but, I am missing that salad.
Tonight will hopefully be better. We've got a black bean stew in the crockpot, and I'm looking forward to a salad with watercress in it! Am I a geek or what?
April 13, 2007
la lucha continua
Thanks for all the kind words. I'm on day 3 of good behavior, and I'm starting to feel human again. I'm feeling good about my broccoli, cabbage and spinach smoothies, my pile of borrowed vegan cookbooks, and the weekend stretching out before me. I'm hoping to do a fair amount of cooking and gardening and seeing friends. I'm going to walk 6 miles (freudian slip: I at first typed 56 miles. Honestly, it doesn't seem that bad) in the morning, and I don't know what all else. I'm just excited to have a couple of days off. Hope your weekends are brilliant as well!
April 10, 2007
my science experiment
So here's what a low-fat, low-salt, low-sugar unrefined vegan diet did for me over 6 weeks:
Weight: I lost 29 pounds
Waist measurement: lost 3 inches
Blood sugar (fasting): I went from 117 to 97. The prediabetic range is 100-126.
Diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number): dropped 18 points, from 90-72
Systolic blood pressure (the top number): dropped 10 points, from 120-110
Total cholesterol dropped 61 pts, from 219 to 158. The desired range is below 200; borderline is 200-240.
Trigylcerides (non-cholesterol fat) dropped 44 pts, from 106 to 62. Normal is <150.
HDL (good cholesterol) dropped 18 pts, from 67 to 49 pts. Desirable is >60.
LDL (bad cholesterol) dropped 34 pts, from 131 to 97 pts. Desirable is <100, borderline is 130-159.
April 9, 2007
And I still don't know about the bloodwork yet. This is driving me nuts!!
Getting back on the good foot
So, I have now had my weekend of extended food debauchery: I've had pizza, I've had beer, I've had BBQ brisket, steakfrites with bechamel sauce, fried chicken and mashed potatoes, banh mi and huaraches.
Needless to say, I feel like crap. Really, really, feel like crap. And I'm ready to start ETL all over again.
Sort of. I have this problem now: I have a fridge full of leftovers of these meals, and they taunt me. They taunt me! I can't bear throwing out perfectly good food, and so there they sit, everytime I open the fridge to get lettuce to make a salad. Clearly, I can't bring this stuff home: I need to figure out how to shut up the voice in my head that is all, "VJ, you paid good money for this, and you only ate a third or half of it. Aren't you going to take it home?"
And it's that sort of issue that makes me wonder if I do need to make a break with meat and dairy fulltime. And french bread from the bakery.
For the past couple weeks, I've been completely obsessed with gardening, as in, I want to plant a vegetable garden. I've also been obsessed with the easiest way to build a raised bed garden. I mean, how cool would it be to just go out to the backyard to get the salad greens rather than going to the overpriced health food store down the street.
It just seems like there isn't enough time. I just want more time. I want to be able to do PFit, and garden. Do I ask too much?
April 4, 2007
breaking the vegan pattern
Well, my 6 week detox is over. I had the blood work done this morning, and I'll give you all the results once I get them in the mail.
Like an idiot this morning, I decided to push the envelope. I stopped at Burgerville (local hamburger chain) and got one of their toaster biscuits and hash browns. One bite of the untoasted bread on the toaster biscuit got the bread evicted. The sausage and egg were greasy and salty. The hash browns, somehow, less so.
I felt the effects immediately. I felt my stomach clutch, like I might throw up. I broke out in a cold sweat.
It took about 45 minutes for those symptoms to pass, and what did I do at lunch, I pushed it again. I got some yummy soup, and two of the nofish sandwiches, along with a salad. For a solid hour, all I could think about was the food moving through my system, and how crappy my system feels.
As it is, I'm going out for pizza tonight. Going out for lunch on Friday, and for dinner. Part of me hopes that I will continue to feel crappy, so that I will get right back on the good foot.