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zoe & the beatles

just a twenty-something vegan navigating healthy, positive living with a little help from her friends john, paul, ringo & george!

Monthly Archives: October 2010

hey guys. happy friday! yay weekends! yay pay days! i am pretty tired. opening and a full day of awesome events can do that to a girl. i ended up working later than scheduled, too, because my boss has the flu and we needed coverage. oh well. i got paid more is how i see it!

but the rest of my day consisted of rock climbing. so, so much rock climbing. my friend and i (the ridiculously awesome climber) went to a climbing gym up north. honestly i am truly falling in love with rocks. and climbing them. i adore top roping and love the strength i feel i am gaining. rock climbing and yoga compliment each other so well it’s ridiculous. no wonder i love it so much! if you ever get a chance to hop on a climbing wall, do it. it’s not easy, i’m not going to lie, but the more you go back, the better you become. just like anything in life, no?

following the epic rock climbing sesh we attempted to eat indian food. epic fail. twice. both restaurants were closed. so we settled for thai. and i settled for hot red curry with mixed veggies, tofu, and brown rice. i was starving! holy shiz guys i ate the entire thing, felt so satisfied and did not have a food baby in the slightest. so. damn. good. thai feast preceded a lovely light yoga session. sigh. what a perfect day.

but this post has nothing to do with my day. this post has a lot to do with my life in general. as you all know, i am vegan. i love being vegan. i love feeling like i am being environmentally, ethically, and morally responsible. i like making healthful, informed decisions. however, as of late, especially after this summer, i have been reevaluating my vegan diet.

as of late several vegan bloggers (jackie, heather) have renounced their vegan diets (not necessarily their vegan lifestyles) in favor of a more vegetarian or omnivore diet. most have decided to include animal products back into their diet because their bodies no longer responded well to their diets. the vegan diet left them irritable, exhausted, weak, break-out prone, unable to think clearly, bloated, gassy. many experienced a number of other negative symptoms as well.

whenever i review my summer and my emotional, mental, and physical state throughout the three months, i feel a twinge. of anxiousness, of guilt, of fright — i do not entirely know. but i know i feel something. and i know that “something” is not a feeling of positivity. whenever i observe my body and my emotional and mental state now i still feel that twinge. although i am light years more healthy in mind and spirit, i am not so much better in body. yes i am much more balanced out and yes my skin is better but all outward appearances can definitely betray all inward activities.

i am reluctant to admit (but do so because honesty is the best policy for me) my diet may be backfiring. i constantly feel bloated, gassy, and puffy. my metabolism varies daily. my appetite does the same. it drives me nuts. i get stomach aches sometimes, feel too full sometimes. my digestive fire is simply not ignited and not processing well. before i became vegan i did not have this issue.

in addition, during my brief counseling sessions at the beginning of this year (did i not mention the fact i stopped attending these? mainly because of time issues but i truly feel like i need to go back. sometimes it’s hard to do this on my own.) my counselor and i discussed how being vegan might be a “cover” (for lack of a better word) for my disordered eating. as much as it depresses me to admit this, i am afraid it is partly true. no, i know it is incredibly true. i love being vegan, but the controlling, insecure, addictive person in me loves being vegan for vain and unhealthy reasons.

since i have started making more of an effort to eat well and eat more often, i have definitely seen an improvement in my overall health but i have not seen the improvement i really hoped to see. i know improvement in health takes time (i am impatient, as i think i’ve mentioned!) but my digestive issues should have been at least some what solved by now, right?

i remember how i felt and looked after returning home from south africa. my stubborn belly fat (i’m truly sorry here to bring this up. it’s just been on my mind lately) kind of melted away. i had a ton of energy. i was happy. really, really happy. my skin cleared up in ridiculous way (i think i got one zit/blemish there the ENTIRE time. that is unHEARD of for me.). the more i think about it, the more i realized my diet while i was there:

i ate whatever i wanted. but never whenever i wanted. i ate nothing containing preservatives or chemicals (not in their foods). my processed food and sugar intake plummeted dramatically. unhealthy high fat foods did not find their way into my diet and if they did, they did so in much, much smaller portions. for five blissful weeks i stopped worrying about food. i never thought twice about what i ate. and i ate a lot. like. a LOT. yet, over those five weeks, my body went through a mini transformation. inside and out. i never felt gassy or bloated or puffy or constipated. what did i eat? veggies. fresh fruits. and animal products. i always opted for chicken over beef or i ate the vegetarian options. i ate cheese. i ate dairy. and i felt awesome.

guys, i’m not so sure i feel awesome anymore. i do not want to give up my veganism, but i think my body does. all signs point to change. i am so reluctant to do this. however in doing so, i am not being fair to my body. at all. i really need to figure something out here. i am seriously considering including fish and eggs back into my diet. i really want nothing to do with chicken, red meat, and cheese (none of that sounds appealing. ugh) but sometimes, i find myself thinking about omelets and sushi. and sometimes i think about yogurt. could this be a sign, a cue from my body? these cravings aren’t arbitrary, are they? i’m not sure.

regardless, a decision needs to be made. and i honestly think an educated, guided decision needs to be made. so i am going to look into nutritionists in my area and finally figure this thing out. i need to, for the sake of my body’s happiness as well as my own happiness. stick with me here as i try and figure this out.

namaste

zoe

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hello loves, happy thursday! hope all is well. unfortunately i feel like i am on the verge of a cold! i’ve been slamming my body with fluids and skipped my early class this morning to sleep. i also made sure my dinner was spicy in all ways it could be. hopefully i’ll sleep it off tonight but i open tomorrow (3:30 wake up call) so i’m not sure how restful my sleep will be.

but enough whining! i’ll live πŸ™‚ besides the yummy dinner and excellent party, i received some gifts for my birthday. i am not a big gift person and usually tell people to not get me anything. homemade gifts i am always down with, however. something about people spending money on me makes me uncomfortable. however, my family still loves to give them and of course i accept them. and this year i got some really cool gifts!

like this from my brother

look familiar?

bento box! my brother and i were in whole foods a few weeks ago and stumbled across these. i mentioned off handedly how much i wanted one because of all the individual tupperwares i use on a daily basis as well as the plastic bags i use to carry said tupperwares in. apparently someone was listening because he went back and bought it! sweet broha i’ve got, hm?

and someone else was listening, too! a few weeks ago i went to cafe gratitude for dessert with my mom (yes, i have an addiction. counseling may or may not be sought.) and mentioned, again offhandedly, how much i loved their plates! well, guess what i got?


two bowls and four plates! (two of each color). my mom told me she remembered how much i loved them and how it was one of the first things i mentioned after eating there for the first time. sometimes i forget people actually pay attention to the offhanded, sometimes absentminded things i say! this time it came in handy πŸ™‚

but perhaps the best presents i did not yet receive. my parents told me to pick out a kick ass digital camera. because i am going to spain!!!!!!!!!! i am not sure when but i know within the next year, i am going to visit one of my best friends! i’m so excited! i’ve never been anywhere out of the country besides south africa. i love new adventures πŸ™‚

and because i feel so loved and so grateful for all the gifts i got, i have gifts to give you! in the form of two recipes!

tofu with eggplant & zucchini
what you need
1/2 block of firm or extra firm tofu
1/2 c of eggplant (okay, truth be told, i didn’t measure out anything hah! so this is just an estimated guess!)
1/2 c zucchini

for the marinade/sauce
1/4 C hot water
1/4 cup bragg’s liquid aminos (or tamari or soy sauce or whatever!)
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 T tomato paste
1 T agave
1 T + 2 t hot chile sauce
1 T sesame seed oil

what you need to do
press and drain all water out of tofu. cut up into whatever size you like. stick in a tupperware and allow to marinate for a few hours (i did this before class and let it chill for a good five hours or so!). when ready to cook, grease a wok or a pan and, once hot (medium-high), use tongs to place the tofu in the wok/pan. reserve the remaining marinade/sauce. allow to cook for a good ten minutes or so (depending on how chewy/crispy you want it!). once browned to your liking on both sides, add some of the marinade to braise it. then add the vegetables and allow to cook for about five minutes before adding the remaining sauce. continue to cook.

i covered mine like this for a few minutes, too, just to steam it some and cook it faster (because i was starving)

once done, plate and enjoy! this was super good and really flavorful!

next up, a bit of a sweeter treat!

butternut squash muffins!
what you need
1 C baked butternut squash
1/3 C coconut oil
1/2 C unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
1 cup + 1/4 cup spelt flour
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t cloves
1/4 t salt
dash of ginger
dash of nutmeg

what you need to do
preheat your oven to 375
mix all dry ingredients together. mix all wet ingredients together. because heated coconut oil will solidify upon being mixed together with the almond milk, i heated the bowl (my mixing bowls are aluminum) over a pot with simmering water to remelt the coconut oil. worked like a charm πŸ™‚

mix the dry into the wet slowly and combine until smooth. grease or line a muffin tin and bake for 12 minutes or until done. allow to sit in pan for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

so these were so dense and delicious and muffin-y that i ate them all before i remembered to take a picture. phffft, figures. but i can tell you these are very filling and are an excellent breakfast or snack!

one last gift: a review! of these delicious cookies!

a few months ago a friend of mine told me about these cookies from a company called late july. late july does not use artificial ingredients or preservatives and these are vegan! i bought them and i have to say, these truly are decadent! they’re so delicious and so much better than oreos! unfortunately for me these are all gone. i had a bit of a moderation issue a few nights ago. oops! sometimes i cannot be trust around a box of chocolate decadence πŸ˜‰

anyway, it’s getting to be my bed time (how ridiculous) so i’ve got to go. i’ve got some yoga and light reading to do before i sleep! have a wonderful night, kidlettes!

namaste

zoe

thanks so much for all your well wishes and sweet comments! i really appreciate them, kidlettes πŸ™‚ the party was just a regular old costume party, considering halloween was so close! luckily people got creative and the “sexy firefighters” and “naughty french maids” stuck to their day jobs πŸ˜‰ not that i have anything against the slutty halloween thing (freshman year of college i was alice from alice in wonderland and it wasn’t the most innocent costume. did i just admit that?). it was just refreshing to see people create their own costumes. one of my really good friends dressed up as our other really good friend who is studying abroad in spain this year. it was awesome.

anyway, after all the birthday celebrations, i feel a little worse for wear, naturally. my schedule and routine have yet to return, really. unfortunately, this has impacted my eating schedule as well. my eats have been less than stellar lately. the beer and the sweets left me feeling bloated and not completely happy in body and mind. i am trying as best i can to remain positive and remind myself that a) you don’t get fat overnight and b) it’s simply OKAY. yet, here i am, struggling. and lacking this:

truth be told i kind of hate the fact i need a schedule for my eats. i know i am not everyone else, but everyone else i know never worries about their food intake and when and where and what they will be consuming. although i feel stronger than i have in months, i am still working on easing my food anxieties and disordered eating habits. i know recovery does not happen over night. i know baby steps are key. but i also know i am a perfectionist by nature and it tends to lead me to do too much too quickly which only leaves me frustrated. i guess i’m impatient. scratch that, i know i’m impatient.

and it doesn’t help that, as of late, my well of work out motivation has drained a significant amount. i just do not feel like moving much. and i do not feel like forcing myself to move. i still walk to school and i rock climbed monday and sunday (also ran a little on sunday, too. just a mile!). but i feel kind of like a slug. and on days like these, i need to remind myself to eat. the body needs food to operate appropriately but my food anxieties and disordered eating tendencies subconsciously steer me away from the kitchen. admittedly i am in a much better and much more balanced place but some days i feel the negativity creep back in and take control. and on days like these, when i allow my emotions to govern my decisions, i make unhealthy choices. i am not a fan of feeling like crap or crawling back to my old habits.

so where does compassion fit into all of this you ask? remember the daily om e-mails i told you about? (seriously, if you have yet to subscribe please do so!) well i got one today which helped sooth my sour mood. it was titled “create time for self-compassion.” what an amazing suggestion! how often do you find yourself thinking “i wish i was more like ____” or “i wish i didn’t just ____” or “why can’t i ____?”. often we’re far more critical of ourselves than we ever would be of, say, our best friends. why do we allow everyone else we know and love to be flawed while we strive for unobtainable perfection?

if you’re anything like me, self-compassion is something you are learning. in the past, i have been my most cruel and harshest critic. it has taken a lot of time to undo the wrongs i have inflicted on my poor body and mind. i am still working on it. but at least i’m working at it! i am a million times more forgiving of myself than i ever have been before (fact: i love laughing at myself and all my “mistakes”). i could easily throw in the towel but i’ve seen just how wonderful positive living is. so does the daily om:

The more we are able to treat our bodies with gentleness, the more compassion we will call forth into our lives.

that sentence struck me. be gentle to yourselves and you’ll find forgiveness easier to achieve. you’ll find traits you once thought of as flaws to actually be elements that create the amazingness that is you, not things you need to punish yourself over. treat yourself with compassion and self-love will come naturally.

i love myself. i honestly do. it’s just sometimes, i forget about compassion. i get caught up in the negativity like i did tonight (because i am human. it happens.). but tomorrow is a new day. hell, the next minute is a new minute. so, i’m going to heed daily om’s advice and spend the next hour before bed (work at four :() treating myself well. that means a mini yoga session, some light reading, and an early bed time!

tell me, do you love yourself? why? if not, why!?! because you’re fantastic. and yes, you’re fantastic just the way you are. what’s keeping you from realizing that?

(and by the way, i nabbed that lovely picture from this website. i encourage you to read this article — it’s really awesome!)

here’s to a brighter tomorrow! sleep well, loves!

namaste

zoe

i’m alive! barely πŸ˜‰

i just woke up. it’s almost one. someone needed some sleep! let me recap for you, shall i?

on friday morning i woke up to an empty house (candace has class from 8 am to 11:40) and did so slowly and leisurely. low hanging, deep grey clouds threatened to spill rain at any second. i don’t remember the only other year it rained on my birthday — i was three. so already the day felt a bit different, a bit sleepy. the first thing i did after brushing my teeth was turn on the beatles ‘happy birthday’ and jumped around my living room. then i made breakfast. a birthday breakfast, of course!


angela’s spelt pancakes topped with almond butter and bananas. and my very first homemade chai tea latte! (chai tea bag topped with steamed almond milk). i followed my favorite hippie’s strategy and used our immersion blender to get my almond milk all frothy and delicious. it was awesome!

thanks for making my birthday breakfast special, angela and elise :)!

honestly, i spent the rest of the day just kind of lounging around the house. i really enjoyed relaxing and taking the day slowly. around three thirty candace and i left for dinner. my parents, brother, candace, and i went to millenium, a vegan restaurant in san francisco. i forgot to take pictures of the food but just know i got my dad, a passionate meat and potatoes kind of foodie, to admit it was delicious. and that he would go back. enough said.

and i got to have my first legal drink! cheers!

and see my family

and blow out birthday cake candles

twice.

(note my friend ryan’s expression. he’s the guy on the left. kind of hilarious.)

oh yes my friends, the birthday party was a dress up party. this happened.

and eventually this happened

oh my. alcohol, you’re hilarious. truth me told i remember every moment of my 21st birthday night. i did not drink much (i don’t have to to get drunk! leightweiiiiight!) and truthfully didn’t really want to. i’m not a big fan of alcohol. especially the next day when i woke up with a late night birthday cake and too much beer belly. yesterday i barely ate a thing. i hate that alcohol takes away a day! but it was worth it. oh was it ever πŸ™‚

and on top of everything, i went to a sports bar with my cousin yesterday to watch the giants game. i felt like (and most likely was) the youngest person in there. i lost an earring. one of my favorites. i felt puffy and tired and slightly nauseated. but you know what made all that go away (besides a beer? or two?) THE GIANTS ARE GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

best.birthday.present.EVER. ever ever ever! the last time we were in the world series i was in the 8th grade. and we only needed one more game to win. we were ahead something like two games. and we LOST. heartbreaking. fingers crossed for a redemption!

anywho, it’s still raining and i’m still in bed. i think i need to motivate my butt to get up. we’ll see if i can πŸ™‚

have a good sunday, loves!

namaste

zoe

it’s my birthday too, yeah! happy birthday to you!

well guys, i made it. i officially arrive at my 21st year. i’m not going to lie. i’m pretty damn stoked. what does a birthday girl do in the last few minutes of the year 20? finish up her birthday cake, of course.


her RAW, VEGAN, PUMPKIN CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE ICING.

fitting for the season, no? and my taste buds. oh boy. do i ever love me some pumpkin. i trimmed the edges of the cake for two equal sized layers and lemme tell you, late night snacking has never been more delicious. i wish the recipe was mine but alas, it is not. it’s cafe gratitudes. what? did you expect something different ;)? just trust me when i tell you this is better than any cream cheese frosting i’ve ever had. and it might just win the award for best pumpkin related dessert i’ve ever had the good fortune of eating. it’s going to be a sweet birthday πŸ™‚

i have a long drunken weekend ahead of me. i don’t party much but i think this weekend i will make an exception to my rule. just maybe πŸ˜‰ i’ll give you the deets on sunday. (i’m sorry i just said deets.)

do you have any special weekend plans? regardless, i hope you have a great weekend!

but for now, i’ve got to go. i’ve got some dishes to attend to…

namaste!

the newly 21 zoe!

eventful couple of days over here on the california coast my loves! but such is life. how are you all? i hope you are well!

before i start, happy LOVE YOUR BODY DAY! tell me why you love your body? i love mine because it allows me the freedom to move! and i love it because it slowly healed itself after several long months of ill treatment. how amazing!

let me tell you a story. remember a little while back when i briefly mentioned my boy debacle? you know, the post where i found myself positioned between one boy with no attachments and another who just ended a two year relationship? well, i listened to my mind and pay attention to my heart and found i really, truly, completely dug the boy who happened to just end a two year relationship. this crush goes back a year, after all! it leaves me in an awkward position. especially because he and his ex, i am told, are contemplating reuniting. but unofficially. and without labels. whatever.

naturally i felt down. naturally the butterflies in my stomach wilted and my heart, that silly organ, tightened inside its ribbed cage. yes my loves, disappointment at something i tried desperately not to become excited over happen. but you know, i am only human. and, sometimes, our emotions overcome our common sense. after discovering the potentially mood changing news i did indeed feel down.

i found myself asking this very question: what do you do when fighting a funk? well, personally, you bake vegan banana bread. you inhale deeply. and then you decide to head out on a massive, mind clearing run. a run you say? are you asking yourself zoe, i thought you hated running? well, i do. and i don’t. i love it when my body feels like moving in such a way. and, sometimes, running is the only thing that calms my nerves. so after i popped the banana bread out of the oven and popped a piece into my mouth (no recipes yet, working on it still!) i laced up my running shoes and took off on my seven mile loop. it’s been well over three months since i attempted my last seven miler. i told myself to stop when i needed to. but you know what? i never found the need!

i took the run slowly. and it felt amazing the entire time. sometimes all you need to do is simply slow down. i am a big fan of slow movement. i zoned out to music like fiona apple and metric, not your typical work out tunes. the slow music matched my slow mood and i felt like i was floating through out the entire seven miles. i felt blissful and centered.i felt zen-ful. by the time i returned home all sweaty and grounded, i decided it would all be okay.

in the past i usually blamed the unravelling of a strong desire on myself. i was obviously not pretty enough, not funny enough, not worthy enough. i wound myself up playing the comparison game. what did girl x have that i did not have? what a waste of time and energy! this time around i reminded myself of my worth when, for a moment, i doubted it. i reminded myself one person does not and cannot determine my worth as a human being. no one but you can take away your value. at least, i like to think so πŸ™‚

so did i wallow a bit yesterday and the day before (the day the news hit?)? naturally. did i wake up today a happier and brighter person? yes. i took this potential relationship demise as a sign. maybe the universe is pointing me in a better direction? regardless, i’m just going to roll with the punches. sometimes things just don’t work out, no matter how much you hope it does. we’ll see what the future holds but for right now, i am not dwelling. why let a silly boy blot out your happiness anyway :)?

plus, i have far more fun and positive things to focus on! like my birthday. in two days!!!! i’m so excited i just might burst. really though, i’m excited for my birthday dinner. and being able to order a beer with my meal. ah, the awesomeness that comes with (finally!) turning 21.

but please, do tell me: how do you zen-out and deal with difficult issues?

have a fantastic hump day, loves!

β€œwhen you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive — to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” -marcus aurelius

namaste

zoe

(p.s: omg i cannot believe i almost forgot to mention this to you all: remember how all those months of over exertion and under fueling led my monthly cycle to shut down completely? and remember how i got my blood tested twice to see what was up? and how it showed me nothing? and how worried i got? well, guess what? I GOT MY PERIOD AGAIN! it happened monday night and i starting crying. i am so ridiculously thankful for this body of mine. i was so worried about having to be put back on birth control (i HATE birth control and tend to steer clear of medicine when and if i can) and knew my body was smart enough to work itself out once i starting taking care of it again. bodies are so smart, you guys! it seriously amazes me. okay, okay, rant over :)!)

(p.p.s: katie is having a artisana coconut butter give away! link back to win!)

not related to fergalicious. not at all.

quick saturday night question for you all: what on earth do you snack on?

my appetite varies daily. some days i eat none stop. other days i feel hungry only for breakfast and struggle to rediscover my appetite for the remainder of the day. it frustrates me but hey, i’m learning to just go with whatever my body feels like. and i’m learning some days it just simply does not feel like eating much.

on these days, when i am not in the mood to eat a decent sized meal, i tend to eat small snacks. but i am learning something else, too. i am learning i suck at snacks. i tend to not keep snacky foods around — rarely will you find crackers or cookies or bars or nuts. the main reason? they never fill me up! i much prefer something a bit more substantial. although i like the taste of larabars and chips and cookies, they never leave me satisfied.

usually i eat carrots. a lot of carrots. and a lot of hummus. like…a lot. i like bananas and apples (though limit my intake because the acidity in apples hurts my stomach and they usually leave me feeling almost too full and bloated. which sucks because i love apples.) and other fresh fruits. and sometimes toast, usually with nut butters. and, to be perfectly honest, i don’t have much else. and sometimes, all i want to do is get snacky. and i find it kind of impossibly to get my snack on when i am lacking in snacks. which leads me to over consume said food listed above! (which i am all for but my stomach is not).

also, i think i need to tone down my carrot, hummus, and nut butter intake. i go through hummus far too quickly for my liking and i’m realizing the massive amounts of carrots (example: last weekend when i went climbing, i bought and brought a 5 pound carrot bag. fast forward a week later and it’s almost gone.) leave my stomach a bit full and therefore leave me, ahem, constipated (there, i said it!). as much as i love carrots, i think eating more than a half-cup serving a day is not too good for my poor little tummy. fiber absorbs water as well so i know all the liquid i take in is not aiding my digestion like it should! a costco sized hummus (17 oz) should not be done in a few days. ditto with almond butter (not as bad as hummus haha!)

and so i come to you, my dear readers, for snack advice. what’s a girl to do, or eat, rather, when feeling snacky? tell me some of your favorite snacks! (vegan or not!)

i need to reach outside of my food comfort zone. sometimes i think i fall into a food routine because i know it will a) fill me up and b) do so in a low calorie manor. now, i am most definitely starting to eat enough and eat according to what i am craving but i sometimes pull out the old “eat a salad” deal when anxious. yes, i am not perfect or cured or whatever you want to call it but (and that’s a big but kidlettes) i am striving to be healthy and happy and recognize where i need to put more of an effort. most days i am! but some days i over think it. like today. but no worries! because tomorrow is a new day and i know i won’t change over night. i think i like thinking rationally πŸ™‚

namaste

zoe