Changing my world, one step at a time

Thursday, December 30, 2010

And so we meet again!!

I've resurfaced from my self-imposed vacation in Hades and am now recently returned to the land of the living.

It's been a tough few months. Many, many medication changes, increased pain and depression and decreased mobility have resulted in many pounds gained. That weight gain created the perfect atmosphere for me to abandon most of my good habits. And so the cycle is created...

But I'm beginning to feel a glimmer of hope. That tiny shiver of a fresh start. And that sounds just right to me.

In honour of my resurrection I painted a picture today. First time I've painted since high school...that would be way too many years ago! Now I'm going to settle in and rip and tear, in preparation for the building of a vision collage tomorrow...

Peace and love my friends



Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Still here

No, I haven't forgotten you and yes, I'm still here. The pain that I have been dealing with has gotten significantly worse and is making it impossible to function. The neurologist had taken me off one of my pain meds because of the side effects that I was experiencing and I had to stop my other pain meds because of some tests that had to be done. Now my doctor is reinstating them all (plus a different one as well) but one at a time in an effort to get the right combination of pills and dosages. The project is put on hold due to this. Hopefully, within the next few days, my pain control will be better and I can continue the project where I left off.

Thank for your patience! And I'll try to get my superstar (aka: Maddie) to post in the meantime.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Maddie: Getting Involved

Hey dudes.

As you know, my mom is getting back on track for the next 21 days. Since I'm already on track, I'm going to try to achieve the goals I want, and get involved in and outside of the school.

Last week there was a club showcase at my school. I decided to look around and join what I was interested. Though I'm dropping band, (and potentially music if I can get into a grade 10 art course...VOCAL MUSIC??!?!...hopefulllyyyyy) I've joined a million things in return.
SOOO, I auditioned for the school production of The King and I, and I'm in the chorus as a royal child and even though the chorus isn't good enough and I don't feel like accomplished anything I still have to stick with it. And I auditioned for Seussical at a local theatre, and call backs are Sunday. And I tried out for the improv team except I didn't make it which is just retarded because the people who just sat there and did nothing got callbacks and its stupid and I hate it and gah.

And I joined roleplaying club which is fun, and also very amusing because it's a bunch of guys, some girls (like 2 or 3), mostly geeky kids and then theres me, like this little preppy ninth grade girl (though I really am a dork at heart. Why else would I hve joined RPing? xD) .

Anddddd I'm trying out for Cappies Critics tomorrow. Which is where you like watch school plays and review them, and I'm hoping I make it because it's theatre and writing, two things that I really love.

And I joined creative writing though I haven't been going because the club days are always on wednesdays and theres usually girls singing rehearsals for The King and I.

To be honest, I'm feeling really lame and dissapointed with myself, because I suck at everything.

I'm in a bad mood.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day Three...back on track

I left the house this morning at 10:00 and didn't get back until 2 or so this afternoon. Between being out and dealing with phone calls I didn't get much else done. Other than wash sheets and make dinner. No time for yoga or anything else today :(

I made some homemade artisan bread when I got home. I love, love, love this bread. There are only 4 ingredients: water, yeast, salt and flour. Unfortunately, it's made with white flour...which I try to avoid. I think I'll try playing around with it and see what I can do with different flours and maybe the addition of flax.

Along with the bread I served a leek and potato soup for dinner, carrot sticks and cheddar slices. I usually make dessert on soup nights and I made oatmeal, chocolate chip and raisin cookies while the bread dough was rising. I also made a chocolate "mousse" (made with silken tofu) to have with raspberries but I forgot to serve it. Ooops! I guess that'll be for tomorrow.

Well, that's it for today. I'm taking my tea upstairs so that I can stretch out with my book and hopefully drop off to sleep early!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day two...back on track

Despite being out until almost eleven last night and having a heck of a time sleeping due to pain and a stuffy nose, I managed 20 minutes of yoga this morning. Quite pleased about that. I didn't think I'd be able to do it all (gentle or not!). I also dragged my way through the rest of my morning routine and my weekly chores. It's tough today because I'm tired and it's extremely cold and dreary outside.

After a veggie burger and a nap I tackled one of my bookcases. I only managed to cull a few books from it but that's okay at least it's something. Then I cleaned the bookcase out before returning the books, wiped down the walls and entry window and washed the rug. The entry suddenly looks better. And it took me less than 1/2 hour (plus the drying of the rug). We build these chores up in our minds until they are these huge gigantic jobs that we don't want to tackle but they usually aren't that big at all. Tomorrow is a pretty busy day so I don't know that I'll have time to do anything outside of my usual stuff. Thank goodness housework doesn't go anywhere. Lol.

On another note, I spent 10 minutes in front of my meditation altar this morning after the yoga. I felt such a wonderful sense of peace after sitting with the silence and just "being". It isn't always like that. Sometimes your mind won't co-operate or the grocery list plays in an endless loop in your head. But then other times, it really does live up to what it's sold as and you can feel it...Peace.

For dinner tonight I made a pepper and mushroom fritatta, then steamed some chard and seasonned it with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. I also made roasted rosemary new potatoes, a perennial favourite around here.

There are three of us sick with a cold here. Amazingly, I am not one (so far!). I'm going to go and make sure everyone is on track to get to bed early tonight and get some extra sleep. Bliss!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Day one...back on track

So I managed to follow my new daily routine this morning and have done my Monday chores. Given that this is such a heavy run around kind of day there was no extra de-cluttering happening but there's always tomorrow. I have tweaked my daily/weekly rhythms to better reflect the new school year. If you are interested, you can see it posted on my other blog:

I've got some general guidelines to try and follow in regards to diet. I've done some serious backsliding in the healthy diet department and have really got to smarten up. I need to get well and feel better and following a healthy diet can only help. I'll be eating mostly vegetarian with some fish and meat once a week at the most. I'd like to get to the point where I can eliminate it entirely but I unfortunately like it too much, at this point in my life anyway. Who knows what the future will bring? The same with dairy. But what I can do is consciously choose to eat a lot less of these things and eat a lot more of the things that are good for me.

Every day I'll try to include:

~ 2-3 L of filtered water and 1-3 cups of herbal tea. Start the day with lemon/aloe vera and water again.

~ 2-3 pieces of fruit

~ a fresh salad or big plate of crudites

~ 2 cups of cooked vegetables

~ 1 cup of cooked legumes or a serving of tofu, tempeh or fish. Once a week a small serving of meat (if I want it, if not even better!)

~ 2 Tbs. of flax seeds

~ 1/8-1/4 cup of raw nuts/seeds or 2 Tbs nut/seed butter (I want to try sunflower seed butter next)

~ a square or two of dark chocolate

I've adapted these guidelines from the book "Get it Ripe" by Jae Steele, which is an EXCELLENT primer on vegan cooking and living. And she's a Canadian girl :)

I started off this morning with a 1/2 cup of greek yogurt with some grated apple mixed in and some wild blueberries and walnuts on top. It's been awhile since I ate such a healthy breakfast and it felt good. I wish that I could find a soy yogurt that I like but I've tried two so far and they're not been very pleasant. So for the moment greek yogurt it is!

I planned this week's menu with the sales in mind. I also checked what we already had in the freezer/pantry and based some meals around these things. I'm trying really hard to keep our food costs down. By the time we had made our three stops we had spent a grand total of $160.00. Not bad considering that this includes a ten pack of CFL bulbs for $20.00 and a 6 pack of recycled paper towels. We are feeding 7 people for that.

For dinner tonight I made a vegan chili and vegan corn muffins. I have posted about them before during the vegan cleanse. I served these with a quick and dirty tossed salad. I'm having a cup of blueberry white tea and then I'm off to an Al-Anon meeting. I'm in pain and I don't feel well but I really need this, so I'm going to go.

Sleep well everyone. More tomorrow...


Sunday, September 19, 2010

New project: Back on track

Our new project is all about getting back on track. This is more for me than Maddie. She's got it together pretty good! But we'll talk about areas she wants to improve on and she can go from there.

As for me...well, my house is a mess, I haven't been exercising in any way, meditating, eating right...For the most part I am like an alcoholic who has gone on a binge of depression and lack of motivation! Well, enough already! This is starting to make me crazy.

The most difficult part of all this is that I have no money. And we really need to cut the grocery budget for awhile. So this is going to be difficult. That's okay. A challenge can be a good thing. I'm working on the details today and we'll get started tomorrow. I'm tired of being so unhappy with myself. The details behind it don't even matter.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

going, going, gone

Well, I wouldn't call this last project a total success. But neither would I call it a total failure either. Despite not doing as much as we wanted to do, we were pretty successful at the things we did attempt.

1. I stopped buying paper napkins and we have been using our cloth ones.

2. Still not 100% with using cloth bags all the time but getting better.

3. We have been composting so much more and also recycling more. We've become a lot more aware of what is going into the garbage. Well, at least I have!

4. Nothing to say here, the shower curtain is still gone :)

5. Using the cloths for cleaning and wiping up, even using the lint free ones for window and mirror cleaning.

6. I posted a couple of days ago on my no 'poo results.

7. I'm still reminding the kids to use the timer for showers.

8. Continuing to replace our burnt out incandescents with CFLs. This is going to be a long term, on going project. I will tell you though, the bulb in our laundry room used to burn out every 3-4 weeks because it's on so much. It's left on all night because the boys sleeping in the basement use it to see the stairs and not break their necks going up and down! We switched over to a CFL bulb about 4 months ago and haven't had to change it as of nice!

9. I've switched to recycled toilet paper

10. I made some surface cleaner

11. We made our own laundry soap!

It was so very, very easy... I had Steve finely grate a bar of Ivory soap (he used the attachment for the Kitchen Aid to do it) and then I added 1/2 cup of washing soda and 1/2 cup of borax. We use 1-2 Tablespoon per wash. It even worked on the basket of clothes that a certain cat peed in...twice. I did use the 2 Tbs on that load though :)

It works wonderfully well. When your clothes are done they just smell clean. There's no soapy smell but no sweaty or stinky smell either! We are so used to synthetic fragrance saying "clean" when it's actually the absence of the stink that should say clean. Anyway that one batch lasted two weeks and cost almost nothing to make, so this is not only green but it's also going to be a huge saving for us!

Which leads me into our next project...stay tuned!

And I promise we'll be much, much better at sickness and in health :)

Friday, September 10, 2010

No 'poo update

Time for a quick "no 'poo" update. The picture at the top is after my first no 'poo wash (august 24) and the one on the bottom is after my last (september 7). It looks the same doesn't it? Unfortunately it didn't feel the same. I found that it was much, much greasier but also coarser, at the same time. If that makes any sense. I'm sure my hair appreciated the break from products but the colour was fading. Anyway, I had an appointment with a specialist on the 7th and when I looked at my hair after no 'pooing, I decided that there was no way that I was going to her office like that. So I washed it. With shampoo. And used conditioner.
I know that some people have had fabulous results with this. But I wasn't one of them. Not that it was in any way horrible. Just not great, for me that is.
So for any of you that are curious give it a try. And let me know how it goes...I figure that I made it two weeks and didn't want to shave my hair off. So it can't be THAT bad!!
Even though my health problems have not resolved and some days are better than others, I promise to try and update more regularly.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Day 12: Summer's Over! :D

Hey dudes, it's Maddie! Most of you probably think "Oh no! Summer is over!" but I for one, get sick of the hot weather and boring days pretty fast. Plus, I'm pretty excited to go back to school. Of course, two weeks into school, I'll want summer again, but oh well :)

Today I:
  • Slept in until like 12:30 pm (totally by accident! I set the alarm for 9:30!)
  • Biked to the library and got myself some books :)
  • Stopped at a friends house on the way home
  • Wrote an introduction to another story
  • Organized the last few things for school
  • read

I didn't really do much, but I didn't do nothing either, and I got some stuff done which I'm glad about. Sometimes I sit around and do nothing, which makes me feel disgusting and so bored that I could run a mile!

School is starting on Tuesday, and as part of the eco-friendlyness of this project, my mom picked up some recycled notebooks and paper which they sell at the grocery store, but not Staples. Where's the logic in that?

I'm still 100% vegetarian, which is all good. I plan on bringing my own lunch to school for the most part, but when I don't have time to make one, I think I'll see what I can dig up at the salad bar in the cafeteria or hopefully theres a lot of other veggie options.

At the barbecue I went to one wednesday for the grade nine orientation, we got our homerooms, but not our full schedule. I think that's just ridiculous, because now instead of only bringing the binders and stuff I need, I'll have to bring it all. Anyway, I have gym for homeroom and first period every day first semester which I also think is ridiculous. I won't even be awake! Gym should not be aloud first period. What're they trying to do, torture the poor students? And what kind of homeroom is gym anyway? Other than that, I hope I have atleast drama first semester. I love drama class 8)

Like I said before...there isn't really much to talk about. We're just doing all the little things we can to be as eco-friendly as possible for this 21 days, and it is making a difference. It's funny because people think that it's so much work to do this, when really it isn't. And if it's hard to find eco-friendly products of anykind, make your own!

Speaking of making my own, I'd really like to learn how to sew. I think it'd be really cool to make a lot of my own clothes.

Well that's it for now! If you're doing anything exceptionally to help the environment, leave a comment about it! We need all the ideas we can get!


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Day 8: Apologies, Plans, and Hairdye.

Hey readers! Maddie here.

It's been too long since I last has been feeling really sick lately, and I know that we're supposed to post every day, but with this project, it's hard to because there may not be a significant change each day. So since mom isn't her best, I'm going to post as often as I can, which may not be everyday, with school starting and whatnot, but I'll post the most I possibly can. I'm really sorry that we've gone 5 days with out a post, and I apologize to all you readers who weren't actually reading anything :)

Anyway, since then I've done as many green things as I can. Things as little as walking to a friend's house instead of getting a drive, taking public transportation, and picking up garbage as I see it, as well as not littering myself. I plan to carry out these little things, as well as finding new ways to be environmentally friendly. I'm pretty sure mom made some cleaning products or something so look for future posts about things like that. Also, even though it's doesn't necessarily have to do with going green, I will continue to post pictures and recipes of vegetarian meals (not so much vegan), and mom will continue to do so.

Since the green project is a little dull to write about, I think I might just babble about life and whatnot. Today I went to this barbecue that my highschool had for all of us little minor niners :) Fortunately, there were veggie-dogs, that were exceptionally tasty. For the most part, veggie dogs are gross, but the one I had was really good! My friends and I chose our lockers and then just hung out. Also, since it was my older brother Josh's birthday, my mom made chinese food, and carrot cake. Unfortunately, no pictures were taken :(

Something a little more green though; I dyed my hair. Doesn't sound exceptionally eco-friendly (though it isn't not eco friendly lol), and it's not really, but instead of destroying my hair, I used Garnier Herba-Shine, a hair dye made from all natural ingredients, including bamboo extract to take the place of the ammonia. It turned out really well! I was going to post a picture of the out come, but I don't have one that I like yet...haha. I had a better angle of the box, but my camera card decided to destroy it :(
Well thats all for today! I'll post as much as I can, and once again my mom and I are sorry about not posting for a while.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day Three...going green

This post is going to be quick and dirty I'm afraid. I'm going to make my way to bed after this and I may not get up at all tomorrow. I've been forcing myself to get through the days and get everything (even on a reduced schedule) done but I'm feeling pretty finished and fried. So I may just keep my pajamas on and stay in bed all day tomorrow.

On to today's green news:

7. I brought a timer upstairs and told everyone that it must be set for 10 minutes before they even turn the water on in the shower. No excuses and no exceptions. There are people in this house who take showers that are 20-30 minutes long!! What a waste of energy and water.

8.I'm replacing our incandescents with CFL bulbs as they burn out. I went on a mission today trying to find some that would work in our dining room chandelier. It took me awhile...2 different stores and 3 returns but I finally found some that fit at Loblaws.

That's all for today folks.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Day Two...going green

Continuing on with our green changes I made a few more today.

4.I got rid of the ripped, still moldy no-matter-how-many times I wash it, PVC filled plastic shower liner. I resurrected the terry cloth shower curtain that I had tucked away and put that up instead. more toxic fumes in the shower!
5. I've got 1 1/2 rolls of paper towels left. In the interest of making those last as long as possible and hopefulle not buying anymore I cut up a bunch of older stuff to make cleaning cloths. Then I cleaned out the space under the sink and reorganized it to make room for the basket full of cloths. I don't know how well this one is going to go over with the husband and the kids, but they aren't the ones who launder the darn towels there!

6.I'm going no 'poo for the duration of this project!! Everytime I say this to someone their reaction makes me giggle. Needless to say it's not what they think it is. I've gone NO SHAMPOO people. Ahem!
In the perrier bottle is what I will be washing my hair with: baking soda and water. I mixed 2 Tbs. of baking soda with 2 cups of very warm water and shook to dissolve the baking soda. I used about 1/2 of the bottle in the shower today. After I rinsed really well (important since you don't want to leave a gritty residue behind) with water I used the second bottle. It contains about 1/4 apple cider vinegar and 3/4 water. To this I added a few drops of lavender and rosemary essential oils. It helped me to smell less like a salad :) I used about 1/3 of the bottle.
The results were good this time around. My hair looks and feels clean and is soft. Supposedly the first week or so of doing this you can end up with greasy hair but after that your hair adjusts and looks and feels good. Time will tell. I'll keep you all posted!
We ate dinner early tonight because there is an Elder Blessing Ceremony tonight at the Beaverpond. I'm hoping I won't be too tired to go. So I just made quick sweet potato fries (oven roasted) and fresh tomato sandwiches. Summer is so sweet...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Day One...going green

The first day of going green went okay. I set a few tasks for myself and did them all.

1. No more paper napkins: Since our cat had been using the cloth napkin basket to sleep in there was no way those napkins could be used without some TLC. So they all had to be washed and a drawer had to be cleared out where they could be kept without fear of cats. LOL

2. No more grocery bag collecting: I actually do own cloth bags I just always forget them either in the car or at the house. Except at Costco because they don't have any plastic bags...but today I actually remembered. And I put the bags back in the car so they don't get left at home.

3. Compost: We have a compost bucket under the sink. We have a compost bin in the back yard and Ottawa has a green bin program. Do we remember to compost? No we don't. So I put a sign up above the sink and I'll put one up above the garbage too. Hopefully this will help jog some memories :)

While the carnivores in the house had BBQ'd steak I cooked up some meatless beef strips (that's the actual name. The boys had a good giggle let me tell you!) along with onion, garlic, red pepper and mushrooms. For the sides we had stir fried summer squash, roasted beets and turnips and mashed potatoes with vegetarian gravy. First real meal I've had in a few days. So very, very good.

See you all tomorrow!


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ready, set...we're going green

We're getting geared up for our next 21 day project: Going Green. When we were looking at our list of 25 or so project ideas we wanted to choose one that would tie in to the Vegan Cleanse and going green certainly fit the bill.

Now Maddie is away for the week, she'll be back on Saturday so I'll be flying solo for the first bit on this one :)

I've read (or am reading and highlighting!) some books in preparation for this:

-No Impact Man by Colin Beavan
-Better off by Eric Brende
-Sleeping Naked is Green by Vanessa Farquharson
-Do it Gorgeously by Sophie Uliano
-Go Green, Get Lean by Kate Geagan
-Happy Go Local by Linsly Donnelly
-Go Green, Save Green by Nancy Sleeth

Each week will have a different focus. I'm trying to get as many changes done in the 21 days as possible but don't want to work myself into the ground or drive myself crazy. Trying not to do too much is especially important at the moment as my neuro symptoms continue to get worse. But there is some good news on that front...I'm getting my MRI done on Tuesday and see the neurologist on September 1st. So we are all crossing fingers, toes and eyes over here that I might finally get some answers and solutions.

So, back to the weekly focus. At the moment, I think I'll divide the time like this:

1. Home and special events
2. Transportation and entertainment
3. Food and sabbath days (in whatever context works for you)

I'm really excited about this. There is so much more we can do in this area. I'm hoping we can make some changes that really stick.

Now as a follow up on the cleanse...I've allowed myself to backslide a bit this week. Not good in more ways than one. I've drank Diet Coke (more than once), ate cheese and used butter (more than once) and ate homemade chocolate chip cookies (and threw up, but you didn't really need to know that did you?!). As a result I'm bloated, mucousy and have less energy. I'm looking at the new project date tomorrow as a perfect time to reboot my diet and get back on track.

I'll keep you posted!!


btw...If you have any book or DVD suggestions or any ideas I'd love to hear about them! Please leave a comment, they all get read :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Announcing our next project

This was the dough for my pizza...everybody else had the regular white dough. I tweaked my regular dough recipe to come up with this. Mine was a mixture of whole wheat flour, a small amount of all purpose flour and a 1/4 cup of ground flax. Instead of sugar I used agave nectar when I proofed the yeast. It took a much longer rising time than my white dough. If anyone is interested in the recipe let me know and I'll post if in full.

I parbaked the dough then topped it with a sauce that I made out of my canned tomato puree, minced garlic, salt and basil. I layered green and red pepper, red onion, mushrooms, sliced yellow and red tomatoes. Then a mixture of mozzarella and dayia "mozzarella" cheese and a sprinkle of Italian seasoning. I had to use the two cheeses because I truly can't handle the dayia or any other "cheese" alone (other than the vegan cheese slices). But if I mix it with regular cheese, well it's not so bad then ;) I'm hoping to slowly get more accustomed to the vegan cheeses.

After baking in a 425 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, this was the result. Perfect, colourful, healthy, delicious totally homemade vegetarian pizza.

This beautiful flower represents our new 21 day project...
Starting on August 23, 2010 Maddie and I will be Going Green!! We are really looking forward to this new project beginning!
I'll post this weekend about this new project and continue to update you about ongoing aspects of the vegan cleanse.
Much peace, love and happiness

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I can't believe we made it!!!

Well we've made it. And I feel that I came through much improved. Maddie wrote an excellent summary of her experiences and now it's my turn.

These are my lovely anniversary flowers that I received yesterday. I love fresh flowers and wish I could have them in my house all the time. Unfortunately, that's kind of cost prohibitive.

This was my lunch today. Leftover vegan pad thai with baked tofu and extra vegetables. So yummy! Even the next day it was delicious.

Homemade raspberry and lemon iced tea sweetened with a bit of agave nectar. I've discovered the most refreshing summer beverage ever :)

Dinner was good and I held true to the promise I've made to myself; no longer gluten free but mostly caffeine and sugar free and of course, mostly vegan. Vegan is the goal but I'm willing to accept an occasional lapse into vegetarianism. The meal I ate reflected this perfectly. Local corn on the cob, tomatoes and cucumbers. A veggie dog with a vegan "cheese" slice on a normal bun. I made two potato salads. A normal one with eggs for the masses and in mine I added steamed green beans and diced red peppers to the potatoes. Of course, I substituted vegenaise instead of mayo in mine.

And finally...I made dessert to celebrate my newfound way of eating and making it through the 21 days. Chocolate brownies. Vegan with just a smidge of fat. A little evaporated cane juice to sweeten. Moist and oh, so chocolatey :)
Check her site out...every one of this woman's recipes sound great. This one sure is a keeper!!
I'm proud of myself for doing this. It may not seem that large but for me the sense of accomplishment is huge. For these 21 days I not only focused on getting the garbage out of my diet but also adding so many good things. And those good things aren't only related to food. Exercising (as I can) six days a week. Doing something that brings me joy, every day. Nurturing myself in ways I didn't take the time for before. And discovering how much I love to be creative in the kitchen! How important colour has become in my meals...
Even though my health has deteriorated in some ways, in others there has been some improvement. There has been improvement in my energy levels as well. I feel more in tune with myself, nature, spirit and the world. For all of this I am grateful. The journey has been so very worthwhile.
As we move on to another 21 day project, Maddie and I will each be taking aspects of the cleanse with us. I will occasionally still be posting about meals and food related discoveries.
I'll be back here on Thursday to announce our next project which will begin on August 23rd....
See you then!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Day 21...The Last Day

My mom has gone out for dinner with Steve because it's their wedding anniversary today. Today in particular, was not eventful. I woke up at nine in the morning but didn't leave bed until about 2, because I was reading. So when I woke up, I fixed myself a classic tomato and avocado sandwhich, and sliced a peach. Around 5:30, when mom left I made dinner for everyone. I forgot to take a picture, but it was good nonetheless. I made tacos. Refried beans for me, and ground beef for everyone else.

Other than that nothing happened. But this particular post isn't about today. It's about the past 21 days.

People keep asking me "how do I feel" and stuff like that, but I don't really feel any different. I know thats not exciting and what your expecting to hear, but I don't feel energetic, or healthy. I feel like I always have. That doesn't necessarily mean that I don't feel energetic or healthy, but it I don't feel an added bonus. Today, I didn't wake up and feel like "YAY! It's my last day!" nor did I feel all "Boohoo, it's the last day." This whole experience has yes, given me something to do, and changed how I felt about eating animals but my personal changes and whatever? The same. You should probably ask my mom how she feels about it, because I think that she feels different, healthwise.

I've decided to become vegetarian because a) If I could do this, and have no trouble, then being veg is only going to be easier and b) I've changed my views on eating animals.

Did you know that chickens are genetically modified to grow faster and weigh more? They are also put in rooms where they turn the lights and heat up and down to make the chicken think that it's spring so that they'll lay more eggs. They're also put in "battery" cages where they have about 1 square foot to live. And did you know that "downer" animals, (animals who cannot walk on their own) are usually just left alone to die? How cruel is that?

What does any of this have to do with the vegan cleanse? You're thinking. Well, the cleanse sparked an interest in this type of thing because for one, I wanted to know why people chose to become vegan in the first place. Then, because I began to watch shows and movies like 100 mile challenge, and No Impact Man, and they mentioned stuff like this alot. I was watching Oprah with mom and it kept showing clips from Food Inc. and that really got me interested. Plus I began flipping through the book Eating Animals.

Anyway, in the end of this whole 21 days, I've decided to be vegetarian. Vegan is a bit too much for me; but the thought of eating meat kind of grosses me out now. I guess I just got so used to...well, not eating meat.

Well, it's been a fun 21 days and keep reading for the next project (but I'm going to keep my mouth shut about what it is ;] )!

-Maddie :3

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Day Twenty

Breakfast, lunch and dinner...that's about all today amounted to. With massive thunderstorms and great deluges of rain I really didn't want to go out anywhere. And with the pain in my body increasing as the day wore on the "didn't want to" quickly turned into couldn't have if I tried.

I managed 15 minutes of gentle yoga this morning and that's about all I have to say about this day other than to talk about food and a couple of other things.

The components of my breakfast nice and early this morning. Cooked steel-cut oats and raisins with cinnamon in the bowl and on the cutting board: a diced granny smith apple, a handful of blueberries and a few chopped walnuts.

Put together and topped with some soy milk. By far, the perfect breakfast for such a cool and rainy Sunday morning.

This was lunch (which I ate in bed and watching the Simpsons). I let my husband have a few nibbles :)

Cucumber, red pepper and carrots from the farmer's market. A handful of organic tortilla chips. A dollop of tofu ranch dip, hummus and guacamole. And finally a sliced perfectly ripe peach. Colourful and delicious...Colour is becoming more and more important to me as I cook and put together meals. I think it's being around all that fresh produce weekly at the market.

There's no dinner pics because I just ended up taking some of our veg bolognese out of the freezer and having it on top of quinoa spaghetti with a side salad of market greens. Nothing too exciting and a picture you've already seen before.

I moved on from "Enlightenment for Idiots" to "The Blue Bistro" by Elin Hilderbrand. Another light read but interesting because it's set in Nantucket (someday...sigh), the food descriptions are marvelous and one of the characters has health issues. So new purse book to read :)
This is the pile where I got the new book. It's my "books to read" pile. Generally I go through at least 2 or 3 books a week but these books have been piling up for months. My concentration and focus haven't been great so i haven't been reading much :(
I'm still working my way through "Eating Animals". It's very good but very, very heavy. Tough to read. It's going to take me some time to make my way through it.
Well, one more day...and the cleanse will be over! I won't be posting tomorrow because it's my wedding anniversary. My husband and I will be going out for Thai food. I checked the menu and there are quite a few vegetarian/vegan options. So I'll leave tomorrow's posting to Maddie. She's making dinner anyway. I'll be back to post on Tuesday...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Day Nineteen

Another summer's day has drifted past...It was such a beautiful day today. It's hard not to feel inspired when mother nature is displaying such glorious splendour!!!

So I made a great smoothie to start the day. For this one I put in a ton of blueberries, a wee bit of kale, ground flax, soymilk and 1/2 a frozen banana. So very, very yummy!

After my daughter got up and had some breakfast, we headed out the door and drove off to...

The Garlic Festival in Carp! It was packed and you could enjoy the smell of garlic wafting all the way out to the parking area. At least I could, Maddie says she couldn't...but I think she has a stuffed nose ;)
We saw this beautiful porcelain pottery. It's by Glenn Dunning of Embrun Pottery. He can be found at There you'll find info on his store in Embrun, directions and beautiful photos of his pieces. They are microwave, dishwasher and oven safe. I've already put in a request for Christmas. The dishes are truly lovely and functional.

Maddie and I had these great baked potato wedges for lunch. They were nicely seasoned and I resisted the garlic dip. I had to dig deep for the strength to not succumb but I managed.

We ran into this beautiful display of summer squash. Who knew there where so many different varieties. I bought some of the bi-coloured variety and a couple of the delicata squash, along with the usual zuchinni and yellow squash. Can you tell how much I love it?

These are elderberries. Maddie has seen some recipes calling for elderberries and neither one of us had any idea what they were or what they even looked like. Well, lo and behold we found someone at the market who was selling them. He patiently answered all of our questions about the berries and what could be done with them. I think he found our naivete quite charming :) After speaking to him we decided to make a tiny batch of jelly with them. We'll keep you posted on how it turns out.

This was our dinner tonight. The colorful cauliflower that I roasted the other day, baked tofu in tomato sauce, sauteed swiss chard and garlic and the piece de resistance: steamed rainbow carrots with agave syrup and earth balance. So colorful and quite good.

After dinner I finished up some canning. This pot is the result of 2 baskets of tomatoes; skinned, seeded, pureed in the food processor and cooked down. The kitchen smelled like Italy. I'm going to ask my Dad to give me any of his extra tomatoes so I can continue the process.
btw...yesterday my extra for the day yesterday was going to the movies and today I read outside.
Now I am going to watch some more of the 100 mile challenge. This is something that I would love to can find out more or watch for yourself at

Friday, August 13, 2010

Day Eighteen

I did the blueberry jam test drive this morning for breakfast and man, was it ever good :) Perefectly jelled with enough chunks of blueberries to make it taste like summer! I tried the recipe again this morning but substituted strawberries that I had in the freezer. We'll see how this batch turns out.

Late in the morning we went out to the Beaverpond for a forest walk. We didn't get too far in (a slow 15-20 minutes) before I had to turn around but still, at least it was nice and cool in there. It makes me kind of sad though when I think of the shape I used to be in and how I could do whatever I wanted (pain free). Sorry to seem so morose but I think I've really overdone it the last couple of days and I'm just exhausted.

After our walk Maddie and I went to the movies to see "Eat Pray Love". I know a lot of reviewers haven't been that kind but I really enjoyed it. It was visually stunning, Julia Roberts shined in the roll of Liz Gilbert and I thought it stayed quite true to the book. Maddie, for some reason, likes this photo of us in the theater but I don't. It's probably because she's wearing makeup and I'm not :)

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE avocados!!! They are so good for you and so delicious but mostly they are so beautiful!! Look at that could anyone resist?

This was dinner. Veggie nachos and our first real try with Daiya "cheese". I put black beans, fresh pico de gallo, diced red pepper and the aforementioned cheese on the chips before baking them in a hot oven for a few minutes. The cheese only kind of melted. And it tasted...okay. Not bad but just okay. At least it wasn't horrible like that other stuff we had in the first week! Alongside the nachos I served some guacamole, tofutti "sour cream" and more pico de gallo.
Now I realize that it's only 6:40 but I'm taking myself off to bed. I must be getting old!
Love and peace my friends

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day Seventeen

Whew! Today was a long and busy day but it did start off on a high note because I actually slept until 6:30 this morning. What a treat! Now I'm praying that it happens again tonight. Wish me luck :)

I did something different with my smoothie this morning. I mixed frozen banana and mango, a fresh peach, some soy yogurt, a bit of water and a big spoonful of ground flax seed. It made a nice change from the usual berry and banana.

After breakfast I got to work on the jam making. These are the ingredients I used along with about 4 1/2 cups of blueberries. I mixed it all in the pot: the blueberries, 1 cup of the unsweetened not from concentrate apple juice, 3/4 cup of agave nectar and the package of no-sugar pectin.

As it boiled I crushed the fruit slightly. Once it reached a hard boil I let it go without stirring for about 4 minutes. Then I took it off the heat, stirred it and let it sit for 5 or 6 minutes. When I canned the jars I had them in the water bath for 7 minutes. I made two batches for a total of eight jars.

Maddie's breakfast, heavy on the fruit and easy on the waffle. For lunch she was out with a friend and had a french fry from New York fries.. She checked and they use non-hyrogenated vegetable oil for their fries. I was pretty proud of her for checking.

The finished product. The jars look really pretty and they've all jelled and the lids have all "popped". I'll let you know how it tastes. Hopefully good :)

While I was on a roll I did a few other cooking projects before I cleaned the kitchen. I had some broccoli that was reaching it's end days and I didn't want to waste it. So I steamed it briefly and put it together with this vegan "cheese" sauce that I came up with.
***Vegan "cheese" sauce
I mixed 1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill baking flour (or regular, unbleached all purpose) with 1/4 cup nutrional yeast flakes and 1/4 cup vegan "parmesan cheese" with a little bit of water. Then I added more water (1 to 1 1/2 cups) and cooked it on medium, stirring it all the time until it was the right consistency. I made mine pretty thick. Add 1 Tbs. of melted earth balance spread and a smidge of cayenne and pepper. Since I had the Daiya "cheddar cheese" I tossed a large sprinkle of that in as well.
I liked it. As long as you're not expecting conventional cheese sauce the flavour is good and the texture is right. After mixing this with the broccoli I let it cool and then stored it in the feezer.

I didn't want the pretty purple cauliflower to spoil either so I roasted it, along with another funky head of cauliflower. These I stored in the fridge to have with dinner on Saturday.

Messing around with art supplies was on my to do list today as my fun thing to do. Please don't laugh at my poor little peach. I'm awfully proud of it, since I haven't picked up any kind of art supplies in a good 7 or 8 years at least...I know my perspective is a bit off, my shading isn't great and I know that I could truly go on and on about everything that is wrong with this sketch but I really ENJOYED doing it. And after all, isn't that the point? I also think that I should get points for posting the darn thing on this blog :)

I did my yoga and went for my massage today :)
Then I went to the doctor's :(
Then I cooked dinner.

I made meat chili for everyone else and a veggie chili for Maddie and I. In ours I put canned diced tomatoes, canned kidney beans, 1/2 package of Yves ground "meat", sauteed mushrooms and garlic and carrots. Then I added a handful of corn, a little kale and some chili powder. Let it cook until it was a beautiful dark sienna.
On the side I served a salad with homemade balsamic vinaigrette and...are you ready? I figured out how to make cornbread vegan free!!

Much excitement and happy dancing in the kitchen. I didn't want to use a recipe that was untried so I figured I'd come up with my own. Smart ?!?! It could have been a real kitchen catastrophe. Luckily it wasn't.
***Vegan Cornbread
Set the oven at 425 degrees
Oil a 8X11" glass pan (that's what I used)
2 1/2 Tbs. ground flax seed and 3 Tbs. water. Set aside.
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
2 cups Bob's Red Mill baking flour or unbleached all purpose flour if you eat gluten :)
2 Tbs. baking powder
1 Tbs. salt
2 cups unseetened soy or rice milk
The soaked flaxmeal
1/4 to 1/2 cup applesauce (I used 1/2 cup and it really didn't taste like apples.
Blend until smooth, then stir in:
3 Tbs melted earth balance and 4 tbs. olive oil.
Bake in the prepared pan for 2o-25 minutes, depending on your oven. It should be a light brown on top and a toothpick should could out clean.
Now I'm going to take an epsom salts bath and going to bed.
Sweet dreams everyone