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Hipocrisy

I’ve reached a point where purchasing non-vegan items for my spouse (or anyone else) is rapidly coming to a screeching halt. It isn’t that I’m saying, “Hey, YOU cannot do this,” but honestly, using my money and time to buy things that cause me significant struggles with my conscience seems foolish. Doing anything that makes us struggle with our conscience is foolish.

The thing is, I’m not good at hypocrisy – it leaves me with a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach. I tend to live and say the things as I mean them, in line with my beliefs, and believing as I do that all creatures matter every bit as much as I do means that using them as commodities, or supporting their use as commodities (even on behalf of others) makes me a hypocrite.

I figure if I have to pull the “VEGAN” magnet off of my car every time my spouse drives it (because he tends to land in places like McDonald’s), means that the word is either being completely misunderstood by anyone who reads it OR it’s looking a whole lot like a joke to anyone who already knows what “vegan” means. Either way, it is something that’s been bothering me a lot and something that will take me some thinking to figure out exactly how I’m going to be breaking the news to family members who are used to me making their lives easier.

*le sigh*

I’ve run into a few uncharacteristic, “Open mouth, insert foot,” situations recently – while I’m typically hellawicked good with PR, I occasionally have those days where my mouth is waaaaaaay quicker than my ability to check myself. What can I say? I try, but sometimes I still fail.

So, what’s a girl to do when she’s found herself in self-inflicted hot water and the villagers are coming with pitchforks and torches?

First, listen to the whole grievance. Even if you want to jump in and tell them they’re crazy/wrong/ass-hats/whatever. For now, just…listen.

Next, ask yourself, “Is there any foundation to this complaint?” Be honest with yourself – I know it’s hard sometimes, especially if you haven’t listened very well and believe the whole thing has been blown way, way, WAY out of proportion. People aren’t generally angry for no reason, so acknowledge your part in this situation, if you played one.

If it’s warranted, apologize (and really mean it). Ask what you can do to resolve this issue, so the other person knows you’ve heard them, that you’re still listening, and that their hurt matters to you. Assure them that you will not do/say XYZ thing again (and then really don’t do/say XYZ thing again).

If you have searched your soul and don’t see where you’ve done anything wrong, THEN (and only then) can you state your rebuttal. Breathe. Be kind. Remember times when you’ve been mistaken and someone wasn’t very nice to you.

You’ll either be forgiven by the other person, or you won’t. There isn’t much you can do about that part, aside from what I’ve said, above. But if you’ve done your very best to make amends, forgive yourself, move on, and try not to repeat the thing that landed you in ankle-deep crap in the first place. 😉

 

It’s been 52 days since I started this “cleanse,” where I started paying MUCH better attention to what I fed my body and my soul. It’s been long enough that I don’t cringe at juicer-cleaning duty, and long enough that I virtually hop out of bed thinking, “Yo-GAH! Yo-GAH! Yo-GAH!” It’s also been long enough that the cravings for things that make me feel crummy have all but vanished. Donuts hold no power over this girl, no siree. It has, in fact, been long enough that I have stopped referring to this as “a cleanse” and instead, “this is how I live now.”

52 days ago, my intention truly was to merely jumpstart a few healthier habits, and deep down, I probably assumed I would revert back to at least some of my less-enchanting habits (sugar addiction, skipping morning workouts…). I *thought* I was going to run with about 2 weeks and then sort myself out from there. Clearly, plans change: today, when I wrote the number “52” in my bullet journal, it occurred to me that I haven’t, not once, wanted to backslide into patterns that once left me with sallow skin, flabby biceps, and drained of energy all day.

Do I still occasionally wish I could eat a whole loaf of fluffy white French bread? No, not really – see, I “can” have all of the tasty food-like things out there if I want to. I honestly don’t want to anymore. I can still get my bread/olive oil fix from really great artisan breads from the farmers market, if I’m feeling frisky. I spend so much time these days thinking happier thoughts, acting in kinder, more helpful ways, and eating foods that bring me such great health, I feel frisky a LOT. Bread, then, is nearly always on the menu (lol) – it’s just quality, sprouted grain bread these days. Why tamper with what is clearly working for me, right? 🙂

I’m still a work in progress (aren’t we all?), but every single day, I feel myself growing stronger and more resolved than ever to live this life to its fullest. I have always been a smiler, but I believe that I smile more now (which to some folks could be downright creepy…I dunno). My skin glows, and at my age, that isn’t often true for folks, without a lot of makeup. Every day feels like an exciting new adventure, even if the plan for that day is going to my job.

Yep, this cleanse turned into something so much more. This is how I live now, and I am grateful.

 

Sorry about yesterday’s somewhat downer post. For a solid hour, I was doing The Hustle in the “Who in the hell am I to need a $50 coffee cup when I don’t even drink coffee?” nightclub, complete with a sparkling guilt-disco ball. It’s never a good place to be, and a spot I do not boogie down in often (or for very long).

Later yesterday afternoon, my better self shined through and spoke up, softly at first. She said, “Who the hell are you to NOT buy a (ridiculously) expensive mug, simply because you wanted it?” She spoke again, louder this time, “Revel in the bliss of not only finding, but of also buying art that is meaningful to you. Oh, and stop your whining.” She and I figuratively high-fived after this, because THAT, my friends, is Abundant-Thinking kicking Stinkin’-Thinkin’s ass.

Everything we want or need, the Universe intends for us to have. Not only does the Universe want us to have our heart’s every desire, It works hard to deliver those desires, if we just put forth the effort to assume all good things are coming our way – put good out, get good back. Knowing this, and having fully believed it for my whole life, you’d think that I would react with more grace, but even full-time believers like me hit a part-time brick wall now and then.

I woke up this morning, feeling nothing but stoked to have located this mug out in the wilds of the internet, with nothing more to go on than a verbal description of a photograph. And in a mere 2-3 weeks, the mug will be created especially for me, and then shipped to my wide open heart and arms. Coffee be damned, I’ve got a pound of matcha in the freezer, waiting for warm hemp milk and agave. Healthy hippies need hot drinks, too.

I know I have been promoting this whole zen-ish, “less is more” lifestyle, and about 98% of the time I totally feel/live/breathe it. But then WHAM! I see a mug on another blog I read that was posted 2+ years ago, spend a day searching the internet to find the exact same mug, finally see it on Etsy, stew over it for 24 hours, and end up ordering it from the artisan. It honestly just spoke to me (and not in a subtle whisper).

And now here I sit, slightly queasy for spending $50 on a MUG (it’s not the cost, it’s the principle), and thinking that perhaps someone should hide my debit cards (except I have all the numbers memorized so it wouldn’t stop me anyway).

It’s totes not a zen place to be, and I’ll be working for the rest of the day to let go of the pointless shame-sequence. Hopefully before too much time passes, I’ll talk myself into believing that such a random search being fruitful must surely have been a sign so that once the mug arrives, I can put it all into perspective and simply enjoy how utterly, unbelievably beautiful it is.

 

 

 

Oh, the horror!

I had to drive to the office today (it’s a 90 mile round trip commute, so I’m grateful I don’t have to do it often). Since I leave so early, I made my morning juice late last night to avoid having to scrub the juicer at 4:30am. In the semi-dark of the kitchen, the juice wasn’t especially interesting or curious. Sure, the juicer appeared to be bleeding, but I figured, hey, they’re beets. Of course they’re red. DUH! Surely the carrots and cucumber would help to dilute the hue… right? I poured the whole lot into a dark, sealed container for the night – in that dim light, it was hardly disturbing.

So, imagine my alarm while decanting my bloodbath…er, root juice, this morning. I had to keep reminding myself that I truly love beets, because my see-through cup and straw clearly revealed a beautiful, jewel-toned horrifying, thick, sticky redness that could have easily been a demented prop straight out of a vampire movie. Granted, the first and all subsequent sips were delicious, earthy, and sweet,  but getting past the look of the frightening mess I was drinking was a chore that took nearly complete denial.

I think my next root vegetable juice will include golden beets, to circumvent all of that off-putting goriness of juiced red beets.

Snob Appeal

So, I was just at the grocery store, making my nearly-daily trip to purchase veggies and fruit. I rather huffily walked past the shiny conventional produce and straight over to the less-shiny organic stuff. I mean, no trifling pesticide-sprayed apple is going to make its way into MY exalted kitchen! Spinach with a side of RoundUp? “No thanks!” I smirked, condescendingly. I strolled with confidence over to the other yoga-pants-and-Sanuks-wearing, dirty hippies (my PEOPLE!), and began to make my selections.

But my whole attitude suddenly struck me as ugly and weird. I mean, WHY? Why should something as simple as safe spinach be something meant for an elite (and apparently snotty) few? Is that even a thing – elitists who “can” buy the safe spinach? Why is food that is healthy and clean expensive to the point of being almost out of reach for many, and pricey to the point of being some sort of status symbol for others? Why is “organic” practically synonymous with “gazillionaire?”

When we look at technology, as soon as something becomes highly sought after and purchased, prices tend to drop. Smart TVs that were inaccessible for nearly everyone at first, quickly saw drastic price reductions as soon as demand increased. Why then, aren’t foods that aren’t sprayed with chemicals and cross-bred with scorpions available to everyone as the rule, and not the exception? Is it because not enough of us buy it yet??

I don’t really have a solution to this, other than to keep spending my money on the stuff that is safe to eat, and hope that it builds a demand for future cost reductions (or better still, a demand for no more pesticides or GMOs). I guess it just hit me funny while I was shopping and I’m still not quite over asking why more people aren’t questioning the poisons that are a perfectly legal addition to our food supply, and why the “right” kind of apple can hold any sort of snob appeal.

It’s Just Food.

Food is not your enemy. It’s just food.

If you must have an enemy, call the enemy the weird stuff that’s in the food, including sugar and pesticides and whatever noxious chemical soups are used to make sugar-free/fat-free stuff taste like candy or cake or butter (and whatever they do to make fake “food” the colors of the rainbow). If you can’t spell it off the top of your head, or if you can’t pronounce it, maybe, just maybe, you shouldn’t eat it. And sugar – we all should be paying a lot more attention to how much of that we’re eating – it’s in everything and it’s poison in the doses the average American consumes it.

Another food-enemy is the guilt we’ve started associating with every single thing we put in our mouths. Stop obsessing, swap out the pretend-foods that make your body work too hard to digest them for things that make your body feel good (and not just your tastebuds/brain), and you will be amazed at how much better your whole entire life feels. I’m not exaggerating. I’ve never once hated myself for overindulging in “fattening” hummus or avocados or cold-pressed olive oil, but I know more than one woman who’s eaten a donut and found herself on a merry-go-round of self-loathing. It’s a donut, folks, not a gateway to Satanic ritualistic practices. Eat it, then have healthier things the rest of the day/week/month. Guilt, my friends, creates a cycle of deprivation and reward, followed up with another heaping spoonful of guilt.

Feeding ourselves and those we love should feel joyful, sacred even.  We must eat. So why, then, are we bargain shopping with our health, spending so much less to eat so much more? We spend $1 on the McWhatever, fully believing that the $2 organic salad we would have to make for ourselves is too expensive and too difficult… and then we hate ourselves after eating the McWhatever. We eat junk and try to convince ourselves that it’s food. We’ve grown to view treats as part of every meal (or hey, how about treats in lieu of meals?!), instead of understanding that treats are occasional variations from our typical, more beneficial way of eating…and then we hate ourselves after eating treats. We’re shortchanging ourselves with cheap, crappy “food,” and wondering why we feel/look like shit.

Once I started adding organic fruits, vegetables, and grains to my daily routine, I found that I wanted more organic fruits, vegetables, and grains. I had less room for processed junk and the desire for that stuff dwindled into nonexistence. It’s almost like my body knows what it wants and tells me to have it. Kuh-RAY-zee, right? But, probably not so crazy at all, because our bodies know, at a cellular level, what food is. Our bodies want to feel nourished, and once we hit that sweet spot where the magical nourishment happens and we’re not contaminating ourselves with stuff that isn’t really even food, everything about life in general improves. Your skin gets clearer, your brain loses its fog, and you find that you suddenly have an abundance of energy (and midday naps become a thing of the past). Heck, you might even lose some weight!

So, I know this isn’t easy – the “food” industry blocks healthy choices at every turn, promoting and virtually force-feeding our junk food addictions. But instead of thinking of it as “can’t have,” consider telling yourself that you simply “don’t want.” Instead of “taking away” foods you think you love, start adding some healthier choices in every day. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither were any of us. We’re all works in progress (I realize I say this a lot, but it’s true), and being better today than yesterday is a most worthy goal.

 

My in-laws came to visit this weekend, and, as life-long smokers who eat what I wouldn’t necessarily call food, they are both very unhealthy people. As you can imagine, that means they have a few of those little weekly pill sorters each, to keep themselves on track with their daily medicines.

I guess from their standpoint, I can’t get too snarky when my mother in law walks in to my kitchen, sees my gigantic vitamin sorter, and says, “Good lord, hon, look at all those pills,” with what sounded like a mix of sympathy and envy. When I told her they were vitamins, you could hear the suspicion in her voice, since vitamins aren’t prescribed by Big Pharma and therefore shouldn’t be trusted. Nature, apparently, is the devil.

Anyway.

I explained that I don’t take any medicines prescribed by a doctor, and then broke out the short list of vegan supplements (which aren’t terribly easy to buy, but I like the Deva brand) in the box: multivitamin, calcium/vitamin D, omega-3, B-12, evening primrose oil, papaya enzyme. Hardly a scary handful, but you could see the doubt all over her face.

*sigh*

The thing is, when you are potentially able to prevent common chronic illnesses like heart disease and diabetes with simple measures like organic food and general healthy/active lifestyle, why wouldn’t you? Our society has put modern medicine on a pedestal, looking to doctors to repair the damage we’re doing to our own bodies with the things we eat, the “food” that is produced for us that is covered in pesticides or IS a pesticide (GMO corn, for instance), and the overall hectic and unhealthy lifestyle we live. But wouldn’t it be simpler to put down the Twinkies and cheeseburgers and go for a long walk in order to live longer with a better quality of life?

For far too many, that logic doesn’t resonate, and so we see unprecedented numbers of cancers and obesity and all number of ailments and maladies (thus, the medical and pharmaceutical industries get richer and richer).

I dunno. I guess I don’t have much point to this post, other than it makes me sad that the way I eat and live is what is considered “weird,” but swallowing 15 or more pills a day to control various medical conditions is “normal.”

My older daughter went to my granddaughter’s parent teacher conference today. The teacher told her that while my granddaughter is advanced academically, she fears that the little blonde tornado has fallen into the “wrong crowd,” which, at the tender age of 5, seems a bit of a stretch. I mean, it’s kindergarten. Are these the kids who blatantly use colored markers on their project when the teacher specifically said crayons? I dunno. Anyway, she went on to describe behaviors such as flirtatiousness, and having too many friends, and befriending a little boy who is utterly unlikeable in virtually every way. I’m not entirely sure how this makes her somehow…wrong, since it seems to me that each of those things alone is kind of terrific, but add them all up and you have a unique blend of totally awesome awesomeness. “You mean to say she’s smart, popular and NICE, too? Oh, the horror!”

I won’t lie – mostly I’m swelling with pride – not just because this tiny human has such a huge personality, but because I like to think that, at a molecular level, Jo sees the people who need love the most and is strangely compelled to love them. That little boy the teacher was talking about? He acts like a rotten little asshole kid, he does, but her soul is so generous, that she cannot help but to reach out to other souls who need to be lifted up. He has no friends (sounds like for good reason), so she is determined to be his friend. In our family, I’ve often joked that she sees souls and/or auras, not faces, because she never seems to notice all the snarky things the rest of us do.

See, it’s easy to love some people – and because it’s easy to love them, they are seldom at risk of feeling short of affection and tenderness. But the ones who need love the most are the ones who seem so darned unloveable. And that’s a good indication where your efforts are truly needed, and even if someone cannot love you back, you love them anyway (but you learn to love without expectation of reciprocity, if you want to be emotionally healthy at all).

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