I have a life update! My life is taking a new direction. A drastic change. We are living in Colorado. This has been a huge adjustment. We are 3,000 miles away from our friends family. Here in Colorado, there are wide open spaces, mountains, crisp air, and cheap land.
For as long as Robert and I have been married, we have talked about wanting to have a piece of land to call our own. We spent so much time driving around Georgia, Florida, and Texas looking for a little piece of land to call our own. But, alas, we could never afford it and it was always just out of reach.
Even here, in Colorado, we just couldn’t pull the money together to buy land. But that didn’t stop us from dreaming. We watched YouTube videos, read blogs, watched documentaries, and kept hoping there would be a way.
Finally, something changed. A family member wanted to buy land. It worked out that we could buy the land together and both live on the property. It was a dream come true.
The question still remains on why we are choosing to embark on this adventure. (And it already is an adventure). So here are the top five reasons we are starting this new phase in our lives!
1. To not pay a mortgage/rent payment. We want to live rent free. Building a home on our property is the easiest way for that to happen.
2. Being naked. Ok that is kind of a joke. But only kind of. We want freedom to do our own thing. We don’t want to be tied down by people telling us what we can do to our house or our yard. We want to be able to walk outside naked if we want to. We want the wide open spaces.
3. The environment. I feel like everything I do always comes back to this. But we want to be sustainable. Our property is not 100% off grid right now. We do have access to mainstream electricity. This is something we want to change in the future. But, we want to be sustainable. We want to have a garden, compost, reduce our garbage. Live off the land.
4. The view. This one isn’t so existential. I really want to see a beautiful view everyday. We have a panoramic view of the mountains. Everyday, I get to see that.
5. Family. We are going to live on the property with family. We get to be close to our family. We have been working on getting the property ready for 2 weekends and we have spent so much time with our kids working toward a common goal. It is amazing to have that opportunity.
For now, I am going to continue to think about food. I will continue to post about food. But I am going to focus on the “Live Well” part of this blog and write more about my homesteading experience. Join me, it’ll be fun!
My family has been in a state of transition. We have moved three times in six months. Needless to say it has been a rough six months. Those months were filled with lots and lots of (vegan) junk food. In an attempt to get our family back on track, when we moved into our new home, I decided that we needed to reboot. I had read a bunch of stuff about the Happy Herbivore reboot (www.rebootcleanse911.com). So I decided to give it a go. I met Lindsay at the Get Healthy Marshall New Year, New You event in 2013, and I thought maybe her reboot would help us refocus. We are doing a total of 13 days. I thought I would give a post of how it went. The first three days was the really big part, and Happy Herbivore offers a three day reboot, so I thought it would be the most helpful. I’m going to show you the food and give you my daily reflection so it is going to be a pretty long post:) Scroll to the section RESULTS if you just want to see how it turned out.
First things first: The daily detox drink. She says you should drink this every morning. I couldn’t choke it down. I tried twice. I just gave up. I couldn’t do it, and I decided not to torture myself to try.
This was pretty good. It wasn’t very sweet, so when you are used to sweeter oatmeal, it took a little adjustment. However, I have since had this again, and it was amazing. So, I guess the point is to understand that if you are coming from a really sugary breakfast sorta place, this is going to be a jolt. But it is really yummy. (Kid approved)
This chili is the bomb diggity. I ate it several times. An omnivore friend of mine who eats a SAD (Standard American Diet) came over, and she thought this chili was the bomb. It is so yummy. The pumpkin makes it the right consistency for chili, but you don’t really taste the pumpkin. It is so good. (Kid approved)
Ok, so this was ok. But it isn’t anything I would cook again. The rice wasn’t included on the plan, but we had to have something or else it would have been like pineapple soup. I think this recipe could be good, but it definitely needs some refining. (Kids said eh).
Red radiance Quinoa
If you have never had quinoa for breakfast, and I never had, do it. Do it today. That is so yummy. My husband said it tasted like dessert for breakfast. It was the most amazing thing I think we ate on the reboot. (Kid approved).
Pear Lentil Salad
Ok, obviously this wasn’t the recipe. I just didn’t like the idea of mixing lentils, pears, and salad dressing. So instead, I made a huge salad. Put some lentils on the side and ate the Pear for dessert. It worked better for me. My husband won’t eat lentils. He says it brings up traumatic memories of his past relationships. So, I gave him garbanzo beans instead of lentils. (Kid approved, surprisingly).
Peanbutter Cup Shake
Ok, I know the photo is sideways, but this is the most delicious breakfast shake I have ever had. I would eat it every single day of my life. (Kid approved)
Sweet Potato Tacos
These were also so yummy that if this all I ever ate again, I would be cool. (Kid approved).
Ok so this was also super good. It had all these yummy cinnamony flavors that I just adored. (Kid approved).
After 7 days of rebooting, I got sick. My friend’s son came over and he was sick. My daughter got sick, and I just hugged her for like an entire day, so I got sick. It was a disaster. We basically ate soup for like four days. So prior to the illness our results were fantastic. I lost almost 5 pounds. But better than that I felt happier and just better. My husband even pointed out how great he felt. I think part of the reason was that we were cooking and eating together. Part of the reason was that every meal was made with love and tasted great. Part of the reason was that I lost weight. I mean, it was a fantastic experience. It did just what I wanted it to do. It brought my family together and it refocused us as whole food vegans.
Would I recommend it? I can’t say yes fast enough. If you are omni, try it. The worst thing that will happen is you will find out you are a vegan deep down in your heart. But really, you will have a few days of lovely food that will taste great and help you get off processed junk. If you are vegan . . . well basically the same thing. So rush over and visit rebootcleanse911.com and get started today.
>I know, I know . . . I’m obsessed with Oreos. Who wouldn’t be? They are delicious, processed, vegan, little treats of delight. What more could you ask for? They are the one treat that we usually keep in the house. A pack lasts me and the three girls about two weeks. What makes Oreos so delicious? Why vegetable shortening of course. So, when my frosting failed miserably a few weeks ago, I thought, “Self.” Because, you know I do call myself, self. I thought, “Self, wouldn’t it be awesome if you could make frosting that tastes like Oreos?” Why, yes, self, yes, it would.
So, I made that my mission. For my daughter’s second, sixth birthday party this weekend, I decided to switch up my cupcake recipe and frosting recipe. The cupcake recipe was too crumbly, but the frosting was marvelous! So, I will stick with my old cupcake recipe, but the new Oreo frosting recipe.
>Today just started out yucky. Awfully yucky. Terrible really. I found out the traffic ticket I recieved is going to cost me an arm and a leg. (I pled not guilty to a portion of it so I have to go to court). My house is a mess. I’m under a veritable mountain of homework and work work. I just feel blah. Not to mention there is this nagging voice “whatcha going to do with your life?” That is intensified by the people around me who keep asking me things like, “what are your long range plans.” I guess I’m tired of feeling responsible for all the plans of other people’s lives! But I understand that the decisions I make really do impact so many people. To put it mildly. Today sucks.
Then I had to stop at Kroger to pick up some “filler groceries.” Filler groceries are what I call the groceries you have to get in between big shopping. Sometimes it might be milk (of the almond variety for us) or bread or whatever. When I got there, I was just pissy. I have to spend money when I found out how broke I am from a stupid ticket, you get the picture. But then, blueberries were on sale. So I got some crazy idea to make a fruit salad, and I just went crazy. I bought all my favorite fruits from canteloupe to pineapple to kiwis.
Then they had Earth Balance Margarine. This stuff is great. It is made from natural ingredients.
Like I can pronounce every ingredinet on the label. That is usually my threshold for products we bring in the house (except oreos). All of a sudden, I just started feeling better. I think I am starting to feel like I can do this. I feel more confident in my choices more sure that even if I make a flub (like the great margarine crisis of 2012) that I can find a corrective action and move in that direction. I didn’t just give up. I didn’t just throw in the towel because today was a rough day.
For those of you who know me, it is unusual for me to feel proud of myself. I always feel like I could have done it better. But I really feel like, “yes, yes.” I don’t know if going vegan is the reason for it or not, but I feel like it might have something to do with it because I am really starting to live my values, and that, my friends, feels good.
I know I promised a post on fake meat . . . I will still do that fake meat post . . . either later today or tomorrow.
>I have been thinking a lot lately about happiness and compromise. When we are young, we just expect to be happy and for good things to come to us, but as we age, we learn that life is a serious of compromises. I have been thinking about how each compromise we make to keep ourselves happy or a loved one happy and each compromise has to be considered in terms of what we are willing to sacrifice.
If you have a personality like mine, you probably are willing to sacrifice too much–sacrifice to the level that we compromise our way out of our own happiness. I have noticed that I am always on the wrong end of the compromise–eventually. Recently, I noticed that in some of my relationships, the other person is always asking me to compromise. When these people ask me to compromise, they often seem to forget that I have been compromising all this time. In fact, I get told often “You get the good with the bad” or “You have to be willing to make compromises.” What I have come to realize is that everyone has a breaking point in terms of compromise. Part of compromise is that both people have to be willing to make sacrifices in order to meet in the middle.
Recently, I was asked to make a compromise that I know will make me unhappy. I know it will degrade my personal integrity and will destroy my plans for my future and the dreams I had about how my life will turn out. Now, I know that life doesn’t always turn out how you imagined and that things aren’t picture perfect. I also understand that compromises sometimes led you down a road that is different that your original path. I also understand that it is important to compromise and sacrifice for those you love.
Where do you draw the line? This is the question I have been wrestling with. Where do you draw the line and a compromise becomes too much compromise. Where does self preservation begin and selfishness end. I don’t want to be selfish. I don’t want to think only of myself because I find that selfish people are the most unhappy people. But, I do want to preserve myself. I have been thinking that I want to make the other person in this compromise happy (even though this person isn’t compromising very much) and I want to be a good person, but I am faced with a compromise that will probably mean the loss of my happiness for a very long time.
Ok, so it seems pretty easy: Don’t make the compromise. Right? Unfortunately, it goes back to that loving other people thing. It comes back to fear and all of those negative emotions.
What am I going to do? I’m not sure yet, but I hope as you are asked to make compromises, that you will consider your own happiness as well…. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
>Before I begin today’s post, I want to let you know about what is coming up. It is really exciting. I am working on our first meditation excersice. It is going to be fantasitic and will include audio. Look for this exciting blog coming in the next few days.
To begin today, let’s talk about being embarassed. For years, I struggled with low self esteem and a feeling of worthlessness. To be honest, I still have days that I struggle with my sense of self worth. Embarassment prevented me from doing anything about it. I felt silly doing self esteem building excersises. I couldn’t talk to myself or try to enhance my life because other people would think I was dumb or would make fun of me. Guess what? Having low self esteem led others to think less of me anyway. Guess what else? No one can see your thoughts. No one has access to your private thinking, so go ahead and think positive things. Instead of sharing a personal story with you today, I want to go through a basic exercise.
There are things we all dislike about ourselves. That is ok. As long as we see these things as a work in progress. Many of the books I have read encourage people to start by writing a list of things that they like about themselves. I think this is not very helpful as a first step. Don’t get me wrong, we will be using this technique, but don’t jump ahead because I have a special twist on it.
For this excersise, you will need a pen and a piece of paper. Find a quiet place to sit and have enough time to be introspective.
Now begin the list with “things I don’t like about myself.” This may seem like a harsh excersice focused on being critical, but it is not. Begin to list all the things that you don’t like about yourself.
A sample of my list looks like:
I think you get the idea. List as many things as you can or want to. Try not to dwell on each item. Just write it down and move on.
Look at your list, and divide it into two lists: Things you can change or adapt and things that are unmutable.
Changeable: Procrastination, Overly Critical, Frizzy Hair
Unmutable: Weird Toes, Small Hands
For today, we are going to focus on unmutable items. Look at each unmutable item and think of something positive about it. Write that next to the attribute. Then each day, look at this list and review the positive things about your unmutable items until you no longer feel bad about them.
Weird Toes: encourages me to buy really cool shoes, my husband thinks they are cute, lets me pick up a pencil without bending over
Small Hands: makes me valuable because I can reach into tight spaces, I can purchase cheaper children’s gloves, no one could steal my ring because it would be too small, they make my husband’s hands seem so strong.
Real World Application:
For those of you who think this is totally off the wall, trust me, it works over time. Remember, no one can see your personal thoughts. So, what you are thinking doesn’t really matter to anyone else. This can only help you. I once knew a girl who was mortified by her nose. She always focused on how large it was and that it wasn’t dainty, etc. The funny thing is, she would have looked absolutely ridiculous with a smaller nose. No one who knew her ever though twice about her nose. In fact, it was a little irritating to constantly hear her pining away about it. So, I encouraged her to do the above excersice. She made a list, but I have no idea what it said. Often I would see her in the mirror mouthing things, but I don’t know what she was affirming to herself. Years later, I asked her about it. She said that she had grown to love her nose because it made her unique and interesting. She said that by stopping focusing on her nose and how much she hated it made her miserable, but focusing on how it complemented her face and how it showed off her heritage made her feel happy. She said she hardly ever even thinks about her nose now. It can make a difference.
Tips for next time:
Keep this list somewhere private and safe. I have a folder that I keep all of my happiness work in. We will use the changeable part of the list in our next excersise. So keep it handy.
Until next time Live, Eat, and Be Well.
>Today, we are going to focus on a simple way to improve your self love. Pampering. Now men, don’t stop reading, men pamper themselves too, but often in different ways than women do. Before I get into today’s topic, I wanted to mention that self love takes a lot of work, and in this blog, I am going to tackle many of these methods. However, my motto is start small. You don’t want to jump into the more complicated aspects of self love and feel overwhelmed or like a failure, so start with something simple, pampering, that feels good and that you will succeed in. As you may have figured out, this blog is a lot about meditation, and I will be showing you some great ways to use meditation to improve your self love in the coming days.
I mean look at those horrible toes–who wouldn’t feel bad about it. But luckily, I had everything I need at home!You may be thinking, but I don’t have all that stuff. That is ok too. You could just throw on a fresh coat of polish or take off the old stuff. You could even just soak your toes in a warm tub of water. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be done.
One thing that really works against us is the thought that you can’t do something until you have everything you need or until you can do it just right. I have these types of thoughts all the time, “I can’t possible start decorating my room because I can’t afford new carpet!” Well those kinds of thoughts just hold us back. Instead you can say, “I may not have the perfect nail kit, but today, I am going to do the best job with what I have.
Now as you can see, they aren’t perfect after all my work. There is some polish on my cuticle, and my nail is a little lopsided, but hey, they look good enough. Just taking the time made me feel so much better about myself.
Ok, I know, it sounds so silly. How can painting your nails really lead you to love yourself more and feel more happy? I don’t know if it is subconcious or if it really happens just through the time, but it works. You know how you see those little old married couple that are so in love. They love each because they spend time with one another and grow to love each other more each day. The same works for you! The more time you spend with yourself, loving yourself, doing nice things for yourself, the more you will grow to love–yourself.
Now, GO, live, eat, and be well!
>So, I spent a lot of time thinking about how I want to work this blog, and I have decided that each month, I am going to have a theme. The month of May is going to be all about self love. Self love? But isn’t that a dirty word for … you know? No, self love is about truly loving yourself the way you love your children or parents. When people talk about self esteem, it simply isn’t enough. Self love is more than just self esteem.
I want to spend the month of May discussing ways that we can grow to love ourselves and thereby increase our happiness. There are many important things in this world for us to focus on loving: loving ourselves, loving our family, loving the earth, loving our friends, loving strangers. But each of these begins with loving ourselves. Even if we think we are loving other people or things to the fullest capacity, the truth is that we could all love so much more if we only loved ourselves. Loving ourselves also shows others who love us how much we respect their love.
Each blog this month (expect one every few days) will focus on how to love ourselves more completely. This is a work in progress. As time goes by, you may have to revamp yourself love or take another look at it, but in each step of your journey, you should love yourself first.
NO! Loving yourself is not the same thing as being selfish. It is not about only doing for yourself or thinking only of yourself, but it is about knowing who you are and about being happy with that person.
Don’t worry, there will be plenty coming up about how to use meditation to increase that love!
>Remember that journey I just talked about? Well, none of us journey alone. In fact, if we like it or not, we have many people on our journey with us. Those people include our family, our friends, our colleagues, our enemies, and even those we don’t know but who help us everyday (have you ever talked to your grocery store clerk?)
On my journey, the most important people are my friends and my family. The person who falls into both these categories and helps me every step of the way is my husband, Robert.
Robert is the most special man I have ever known, and that is how each person should feel about their life partner. He is a bit quirky, but he is the type of person who is absolutely supportive and wants to see you succeed. He is the coordinator of operations and data control for a railroad, and he really enjoys his work, but he also loves to come home and spend time with his family, work on the house, and play with computers. Do we fight? Yes. Every couple gets in disagreements, but it is how you handle them that is important. In the end, he loves me for who I am and that makes all the difference.
Then, we have three lovely children. Magdelaina, Persephone, and Medea. They are all so special, and they complete my life. I never knew that you could feel so much love, pride, concern, happiness, fear, and compassion before I had my children. Sometimes I get overwhelmed, but who doesn’t? My three daughters provide me with a continuous supply of adventure. My oldest daughter is bright and compassionate and socially conscious. My middle child is creative and emotional, and the baby is trouble with a capital T, but she is also interesting and vivacious.
Last, but certainly not least, are my parents. My lovely and wonderful parents, Ruby and Larry, who raised me to be who I am and have always stood by me no matter what horrible mistake or huge success I was making. My parents just moved to live near me, and I am so dog gone lucky that they are here. Both of them are medically retired, and are about to be my guinea pigs for my wellness plan. They are loving parents and loving grandparents. My husband’s parents, Bill and Maria, have also played a big role in my life, and I am lucky to have them as well.
Who wouldn’t love that face? My dad Larry (pictured above) at a school function is showing off his signature grin.
My mother is doing what she does best… snuggling a baby!
Well, now you have met my family, and I am sure I will mention them many more times and will introduce others!