Thursday Thoughts – Good Morning

Good morning! It’s still morning where I am, so I can say that. And it’s a pretty cold today… even for August. Personally, I’d like to keep the cold weather away until at least September. I feel a bit ridiculous sitting in this coffee shop wearing a big sweater jacket and sweat pants while drinking tea. Also am self-conscious considering that there are others here in short sleeves. But oh well, I guess I’ll be the warm one today.

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I love tea. One thing that’s great about tea is there are so many kinds and they all do something different. Tea can help easy anxiety, relax you, detox your system, keep you awake, and more.

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To be honest, I haven’t had the best start to my day. It’s been a fight against stress and anxiety, so that’s how I ended up in a coffee shop drinking a soothing peppermint tea and eating a bagel.

I’ve been learning that you can’t always change your circumstances; sometimes things won’t go your way. What I do have control of is how I react to situations and issues that come up in my life. So today I have chosen to not best myself up for having a moment of weakness or being anxious. I’m going to go slow and take the time I need for myself.

God won’t always solve every problem in life, but He has promised to be by my side every step along the way. This morning and today I’m living in that promise, that God is walking with me through my trials. In the good and the bad, I know that He never fails. I am so glad in my ever-changing life, that He is my rock and fortress, my shield.

If anyone of you are having a bad day, or week, or are in a low right now, know that you’re never alone. There are many others who feel the same way as you and are struggling too. And God knows what you’re going through. So be encouraged and encourage those around you. Let’s walk through life together.

“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.”

-A

Vegan Tid Bits

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(Picture and recipe can be found here: http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Veggie-Sandwich-Recipe-35415233).

According to Dictionary.com a vegan is “a vegetarian who omits all animal products from the diet” and “a person who does not use any animal products, as leather or wool.” Personally I wouldn’t use the word vegetarian, simply because it may confuse some people who want to know the difference between the many veggie diets.

One question I always found a bit frustrating and difficult to answer is “why did you become vegan?” There is more than one reason to become vegan. Most people aren’t really expecting me to dive into a huge explanation, but veganism can be a deep subject and I need more than a sentence to explain my choices. So, this is the perfect place to share my thoughts with anyone who is interested.

When I first made the change to being vegetarian and then to vegan, many people told me how it was unhealthy or how I would be missing key nutrients. There were even others who thought I was crazy! However, contrary to popular belief, there are many health benefits to being vegan. Many health conditions and issues can be managed or even cured through eliminating animal proteins from the diet. Furthermore, in my high school food & nutrition class we were shown the documentary Forks Over Knives; this was my first introduction to plant-based living.

Another side of veganism focuses on the treatment of animals and the environment. I think most people would say they care about animals. I certainly have always loved them, but that was never my main reason for going vegan. I’m sure I was shown in class something on food and the treatment of animals. I don’t know what it was… maybe it just had never sunk in. However, recently I needed to remind myself of the reasons I chose to become vegan in the first place, and I was recommended the documentary Earthlings (WARNING: graphic content). It’s definitely not for the faint-hearted! Without a doubt Earthling was the hardest thing I’ve ever watched, but I did it because I needed to see the truth and bring myself back to the start. After that, there was no question where I stood. This is the documentary that truly made me understand that veganism is much more than a diet – it’s a LIFESTYLE.

vegan-myths-memeI feel like the first impression from some people is to think that vegans don’t like food… or that we only eat salads. This is simply not true. My family knows very well that I enjoy eating and I can assure you I eat more than just lettuce!

One food I’ve wanted to try more of is avocados. My parents don’t really like avocados, so we don’t ever use them in our meals. I remember having them in a salad once at a friend’s house, but I don’t remember what I thought of them. So, I’m looking forward to being able to experiment with different recipes to see what I think.

This is living now! There are so many different foods & recipes I want to try.  Grains, fruits like mangoes, veggies, and more.

All in all, I feel the best being vegan. It’s not my intention to judge or make anyone else feel guilty, but I am confident knowing that I’m living a healthy lifestyle and staying true to my morals and beliefs. Of course, I’m not perfect. I know that life is journey and this is a part of it. So I try not to beat myself up if I slip now and then. Everyone does, I’m sure.

Did you know that these celebrities and athletes are vegan?

  • Ellen Degeneres (actress/ comedian)
  • Natalie Portman (actress)
  • Carrie Underwood (singer/songwriter)
  • Alicia Silverstone (actress)
  • Ellie Goulding (singer/songwriter)
  • Patrik Baboumian (strongman)
  • Mac Danzig (mixed martial arts fighter)
  • Cam Awesome (boxer)

-A

Top 10 Foods I Hate

Hello and happy Friday to you! I am often reminded of all the things I have to be thankful for! For example, one thing I am grateful for is good food. Every individual and culture have different ideas of what is considered to be good food. We also eat multiple times each day, so it’s important to consider what we’re putting in our bodies… at least that’s how I see it. With that all said, to start off this Friday I thought I would do it with a list of the top 10 foods I hate (not necessarily in order).

1. Mustard

For all of the technical people out there, I know mustard is more of a condiment than a food. However, “Top 10 Foods I Hate” seemed like a better title to me than something like “Top 10 Edible Items I Hate” or “10 Terrible Foods & Other Disasters”. Anyways, I have never liked the taste of mustard. Even it’s smell I find disgusting. I am the odd one out of my family, as everyone else likes it. But I always feel a sense of victory and joy from moments when I meet another person who can join me in the dislike of mustard.

2. Tofu

Soy is something I try to avoid anyways. It’s not good for you and most of the things made of soy aren’t very appealing. For example, consider foods like tempeh, tofu and who knows what others, because let’s be honest here soy is in almost everything. Focusing back on tofu, I find that it doesn’t have much flavour at all and tastes more like a sponge than edible food. (Importance Notice: I do not speak from personal experience. I haven’t ever eaten a sponge and neither should you. However, tofu is what I imagine a sponge would taste like).

3. Mushrooms

stock-photo-brown-champignon-mushroom-and-rosemary-leaves-isolated-on-white-background-cutout-149506979Ask any of my family or friends and I’m sure they will tell you that this is definitely one of my top hated foods. Mushrooms on anything is a no for me. If pizza was made, I would take those toppings off. My mom has even attempted to hide them, to no avail, in different casseroles and dishes, but I can still detect them. I don’t think I need to explain why I hate mushrooms… you either love them or hate them. If you love mushrooms, well then I’m sorry I don’t know how to help you understand it. However, if you hate them too, then you fully understand my struggle.

4. Whipped Cream

I’m sorry, but not really that sorry because whipped cream is actually gross. It’s not even like cream, it’s more like a dense foam. Its taste triggers my gag reflex. Guys, I don’t want to call you out, but I’m just going to say it… you’re doing it wrong.

5. Marshmallows

stock-photo-marshmallows-isolated-on-white-background-218146417Chocolate is a definite yes! However, combined with marshmallows or cooked over a campfire…squishy. Just no. (Interestingly enough I do like rice crispy squares, as long as they aren’t overly sticky from marshmallows, but anything else is a huge NOPE).

6. Mayonnaise

Something about the consistency of mayonnaise is wrong. I don’t like it’s thick creamy and strong taste. FYI, this post is making it sound like I don’t like anything remotely creamy. Not true. Ice cream… frozen yogurt….Things I don’t eat anymore because vegan. Right. Alright, continue with your accusations, you are correct my friend. Wait… there’s almond yogurt! On second thought nevermind, it’s more similar in taste to pudding than yogurt.

Final thoughts on mayo: it’s a no-go. (Haha.. puns. Get it? Okay, I’ll move on now).

7. Brussel Sprouts

My dad and I have never like Brussel sprouts. It’s simple. They are a bitter food and, for me. something about their leaves are just gross. Is it because Brussel sprouts need to be cooked perfectly in order to not taste horrible? Possibly. They’ve been made recently for dinner and I didn’t find them awful when I had them. So… a step in the right direction, or am I being lulled into a false sense of security only to find out the next time that they still are terrible? Only time will tell.

8. Beets

Thankfully beets don’t often show up on our dinner table. If beets are consumed in my house, it’s usually when my mom takes a few out of the jar and eats it alone. So, I only have to worry if we’re at a friend or relative’s house and beets are on the menu. I don’t want to be rude, but I just can’t stand them. There was one dish I had of beets that was good – made by my grandma – but that was the first time I’ve liked them.

9. Cilantro

This is the weirdest food for me. Probably because I only found out recently that I don’t like cilantro. Moreover, it was totally by chance! We were eating a mixed salad a few days ago and I didn’t like it, which was unusual for me, since I like almost every kind of salad I’ve tried. I noticed the bitter flavour, but didn’t say anything until my mom tried to serve it a second time. Then I spoke up saying “You know, I don’t really like this salad. It’s really bitter. What’s in it?” My mom was naturally surprised, “Really?” That’s when it was suggested to me that it might be cilantro. Next I isolated a few pieces of cilantro and ate it. Lightbulb. It was cilantro.

10. Liquorice

stock-photo-liquorice-allsorts-fondant-and-licorice-sweets-or-candy-185927168I know I’m not alone in disliking liquorice. I’m not even sure what exactly I don’t like about it, but it just has a really strong flavour that turns me off. Even as a kid, at Halloween I would gather up all my Twizzlers and liquorice candies and give them to my brother, who happily took them. (The photo looks appetizing – all colourful – but as soon as you fall for its trap, it shows its true colours).

Bonus: 11. Hot Dogs 

Hot dogs? It’s more like mystery meat. They are disgusting… and are made from who knows what leftover and bad things. Honestly, anything that tastes that much like rubber can’t be all natural and healthy. Short and sweet. No hot dogs for me.

Honourable mentions:

  • Cooked carrots (I only tolerate cooked carrots… mostly because I was raised to try a little bit of what’s offered to you. Even if you don’t like it your taste buds may change.)
  • Tuna Fish (I used to hate tuna as a child, but eventually I grew to like it. Though now I strive to follow a vegan diet, so I avoid consuming fish & meat.)

**NOTE: everything above was meant in good spirits, for fun, entertainment, and conversation. It was not intended to offend. Not that you should take offence to my opinions of bad foods, as they are only just that… my opinions. So if you like any of the above mentioned foods, go ahead and enjoy it.

The Beauty & The Struggle

stock-photo-hello-august-new-chalkboard-with-d-outlined-text-on-wood-285818717Welcome to August everyone! Okay, it’s been a few days into this month already, but it’s my first post of the month, so I say welcome anyways! Personally, I can’t believe how quickly the summer has passed by. And I’m sure some people are dreading the arrival of September, but not me; I’m excited about this new season!

Lately I’ve been examining myself to see if I’m happy where I am and where I have to make some changes. In these moments I often find that I have drifted off from where I want to be. I’ve become distracted by other things. There is a lot to deal with in life physically, in work, and school. Plus other interests like sports, (not my thing, but I know lots of people enjoy it), books, movies, and more. It’s all too easy to be pulled away from what’s really important. 

What really matters then? People. At the end of the day, my possessions, wealth (or lack thereof), and everything I accumulate isn’t going to matter. My family, friends, those relationships and people who have left an impact on my life, that is what’s important. As an introvert, sometimes it’s tempting to try and hibernate from the world. Of course, having time to yourself is good, but having a balance between social and alone time is more healthy. Nevertheless, I must confess that I write this blog post while sitting in a chair alone and listening to music. However, like I said, nothing wrong with being alone sometimes … right?

teacher-836767_640Recently I have also decided it was time to purge the needless things and whatever is holding me back from moving forward. Truly, it’s easier than I’d like to admit for me to be dragged down by things that are hindering rather than helping me achieve my goals. As I’ve cut things out, I am starting to replace them with the habits I need in my life now. One, bible reading and morning devotions is a daily habit I’ve wanted for a long time now. However, since I’ve never been a morning person, it was always a struggle to keep up with morning prayer and devotions. Well, one thing hasn’t changed…I still can’t say that I’m a morning person, but this time I’m sure of my determination. If this is truly something I want, then I will find a way to incorporate it in my life in a way that works for me.

I don’t have it all figured it all out and I know I won’t be perfect. But isn’t life a journey? It’s about the beauty in the struggle, striving for what’s important. We fall and get up again, then carry on.

Here is a song I am reminded of: “All I’ve Ever Needed” by AJ Michalka.

-A