Friends, September ended and I successfully completed a month of eating a vegan diet.
I slipped up once: on 30 September: I bought a bag of Funyuns (you know, those onion-ring-flavored things) and started devouring them because I needed some carbs – stat. Looked at the ingredients, and there was one little mention about buttermilk way down on the list.
Eh…it was a miniscule amount. And I devoured the bag. Y’all, I’m sorry. I had like a tenth or a tenth of an ounce of buttermilk on the very last day of being vegan…but I sort of didn’t care. I mean, I couldn’t care. I mean those dang things were so good…
Who Me? Vegan?
So, friends, I loved doing this challenge. I learned a lot.
I learned things like, I’m probably not cut-out to be full-on vegan.
I was kind of starving the whole time. I’m sure I was doing something wrong. But I also didn’t want to spend unlimited amounts of money eating every plant form I could find….
I ate lots of tofu, tempeh, beans, rice, sweet potatoes, veggie crumbles, vegan butter, hummus, chick peas, salads, and even almond-milk-based ice cream.
It was all good. Really good.
Except I never felt like I had enough. I’d eat one thing, and then 20 minutes later, I’d be looking for something else. And then I’d eat some protein-thing and then want pasta. Then I’d want more salad stuff.
I figured out that my lifestyle is not conducive to the prep time required for many of these vegan meals. One usually has to let a block of tofu drain into paper towels for an hour or two on the counter and if you forget to do that? There goes that dinner idea, unless you don’t mind soggy tofu.
I hear there are athletes who are 100% plant powered. I bet their secret is that they spend serious amounts of money on food every month. I mean serious amounts of money.
I lost weight. I have no idea how much. I refuse to buy a scale. But at the moment, all my clothes look like they’re hand-me-downs from Big Sister.
That’s cool. I’m sure the DiGiorno Cheese-stuffed Crust pizza that I’ll be eating tonight will fill me right out.
So here’s the verdict: joking aside, I love that I haven’t participated in the cruel system that is the agriculture industry in the United States for the last month.
Whenever and as much as I can, I intend to buy eggs and cheese from local farmers (hello, Farmer’s Market!) who treat their animals not as food output factories, but as members of their family. You know…where the animals have names and they live a really good life.
I’m still vegetarian 100%, though.
And yeah, in the future I’ll still try not to participate in the big-biz animal industry.
But man…I need eggs. And cheese. My arteries and heart probably disagree, and I’ll still eat vegan as much as I can, too.
Except for maybe breakfast. Because eggs. And cheese. And PROTEIN.
And who knows…maybe I’ll figure out the right balance that is right for me…and my budget.
Other September Accomplishments of the LIFE Project
Walking 10,000 steps
During the month of September, there were a total of six days where I didn’t reach 10,000 steps. Three of these days were due to gardening or other forms of exercise, but three of them were due to me trying to help the little school where I work get their book published.
I was working on editing and layout and though the book still needs work, it’ll be a saleable draft version in time for the mindfulness conference coming up next week.
To that end, we were under a time crunch to get it to the printing company and that meant some long days in front of the computer.
No matter if you’re publishing for yourself or if you’re helping someone else to publish something, the process is still the same. There is ALWAYS the mad rush to send as perfect a document as possible to the printing company.
Meditation, Mantras, Affirmations
In my post about the “Not So Good Side of Mediation” I talked about needing to change up my meditation style and routine.
This has been good.
During that silent hour, I do some visualizing, some mantra recitation, go over the affirmations I’ve outlined for myself and now include my journaling.
It’s a nice way to spend that time in the morning and I feel better that I’m honoring my needs there.
I flipped through and tried some recipes from various books and found others online. These cookbooks served as my official September reading, though I read other books, too.
My favorite recipes were:
- vegan chili and vegan cornbread
- pasta with “cheesy alfredo sauce” made from silken tofu, garlic and other spices
- tofu scramble
- barbecued tempeh
- fried potatoes with a veggie crumble/onion/broccoli topping, with some vegan cheese
And…I have figured out how to make THE BEST pot of pinto beans with veggie ingredients and herbs. They taste as good as my mom’s and my mom trained at a cooking school. No joke.
(Want to know? I get dried beans, sort and rinse them, soak them overnight and then cook them in the same water they soaked in. I add about 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tbsp of chili powder, 1 tbsp cumin, 3-4 cloves minced garlic, and other spices such as oregano and basil at 1 tsp each. Then I cook on low in the slow cooker for 6-8 hours. Makes the best stuff!)
Haikus and Poetry
I continued to work on daily (or almost daily) haikus and posted them over at Twitter. I’m now thinking I want to compile them, along with the haiku coloring pages I’m working on, into a little mindful book.
As I work on that, I’ll let you know more details. This would serve as the “poetry” book I want to publish during this project. But, it’ll just be here on the website. As I work on it, I’ll share more details, because my ideas are still changing and morphing.
The October LIFE Project: Connecting with loved ones
There are the standard parts of the project I carry over from month to month:
- 60 minutes of meditation (and whatever that looks like right now)
- 10K steps per day
If you recall from the original LIFE Project plan and layout, I intended for this to be a month where I visit family and friends, as well as send out freebies from Intuitive and Spiritual as outlined below:
- visit family near and far
- visit friends near and far
- send out artwork to I & S selected followers
- strengthen relationships with family via letters
- do something social I don’t want to do
- give something to everyone I meet
- volunteer somewhere
I’m pretty much on track, but with a few changes.
The first is regarding visiting family. When I first crafted this project, I was at one job where I would have had a week or two to travel. Alas, I am not in the same position anymore.
Visiting Family and Friends
I may still end up traveling. I’m not sure, yet, but I’m needing to visit an ailing family member who may not have much time left. I may need to take a long weekend to do so. The tricky part is navigating this travel around work and needing to see other family, etc.
I already have some new friends (from my voyages to the farmer’s market) who are pretty awesome and we’re trying to get together toward the middle of the month.
Artwork and Cards
For the other parts, this won’t be an everyday thing, but I intend to send out cards to friends and family just to say, “I’m thinking of you” and “Happy birthday” to others.
I intend to send out some artwork and/or have giveaways on the blog. I’m going to leave you hanging on that one because I’m cooking up something that I hope you will really enjoy.
Last year, I wrote a post about “giving something to everyone you meet” and I really want to work on that this month. Whether it’s a smile, a hug, a greeting, a nod, a card, a flower, or something like that, I really want to incorporate this as a daily part of this project.
Volunteer and Social Opportunities
I have been working on finding volunteer opportunities that suit my personality and time needs and will continue to do so. I’m looking at helping Manna Food bank with food pickup, but it’s still in process. If not, I’ll continue to look for other opportunities – ones especially where I can use my Spanish speaking skills.
As I said in that original LIFE Project post, I know I need to work on meeting new people. I’ve lived in this new town for a couple years and haven’t had a chance to get out a lot. And, well, working at home on a computer writing or working at school doing the same thing isn’t conducive to cultivating relationships. The time factor plays a role, too.
BUT, I have met new folks as a result of “doing something social I don’t want to do.” And it’s not that I don’t want to do it, it’s that I don’t feel like it after a long day, you know what I mean?
I am glad, however, that I’m taking a 9-week class called “Building Bridges” head up by the Equity Director at the school where I work. It’s a class about breaking down racism, striving for equity, and meeting people where they are to create a more just world. I get home late on Tuesday nights and makes for a 13.5-hour day by the time I include my commute time, but it’s a great class.
I’ve met some awesome people, and it’s made me closer to work colleagues.
Conversations With God
Originally this month I was going to read, “The End of Money: Counterfeiters, Preachers, Techies, Dreamers and the Coming Cashless Society” by David Wolman and I’m very much looking forward to that.
But ever since I read the first Conversations with God book, I’ve wanted to continue the series. The theme of the second book is fitting, as it talks about things from a global perspective, takes a look at politics, and geopolitical issues. So, that is going to be my October reading pick.
This is incredibly important to me. I think about our planet, each other, the animals, the plants, and everything between all the time. I have this need to fix it all, though I know I cannot. At least not in a way where I carry the world on my shoulders. We humans are meant to carry our own weight, not the weight of an entire globe.
This is why I work on my inner-self so much. Because it helps me to know myself. To know what I’m capable of putting out into the world.
And what I put out into the world, I feel, needs to be inspiring and uplifting. Without hope, what have we got?
So there’s my project outline for this month.
I want to close by saying that I’ve received some AWESOME feedback and messages from folks in the past month. Keep them coming. I love you all.