Life Has Been Grand

I can’t believe it’s been six months since I last blogged! I guess life just got away from me these past few months and I didn’t make it a point to slow down and update it.

surprise

For the most part, life has been good. There have been several changes and additions to my life that I feel very comfortable with.

Home Sweet Home

Living with The Teacher, has been amazing so far and we’ve managed to compromise and create routines to keep us both happy and engaged in the experience of sharing a home. For example, we make it a point to have dinner together every night unless one of us is out of town. Regardless of how busy or tired we are, we always sit down over dinner to spend time together. We also make a point to have at least one formal date night (in the sense that we’re specifically going out or staying in with the purpose of spending dedicated and uninterrupted time together)

We have also done well with tending to our “alone time” for hobbies and decompression. With The Teacher, his “alone time” is usually spent playing video/computer games, reading and grading, while mine has been binge watching shows that I know he has no interest in, taking walks and on very rare occasions, writing.

We’ve definitely grown a lot as a couple over the past six months and I look forward to growth continuing.

New Ride

After months…well, YEARS of living in fear of being stranded during my long-ish commutes, I finally bought a new (to me) suv It’s a Candy Apple Red 2017 RAV4 SE with black leather seats and a sunroof. It’s been a pretty fun suv so far and I’ve wanted one for a few years now. I purchased the RAV4 on somewhat of an impulse on a random Monday I took off from work for rest and relaxation. I had been casually researching suvs online and came across the RAV4 in my search. It was reasonably priced and had all the features I was looking for, so I drove 45 minutes out of town to test drive it and ended up buying it. I initially told no one that I bought it until I pulled into the driveway to surprise The Teacher with the news later that afternoon. He was quite surprised, especially since he had been nagging me to buy a new car over the past year.

Mental/Sexual Health

I’ve had some ups and downs over the last few months mental health wise, but I’ve started to pay more attention to my triggers and have found healthier ways to distress (like reading, writing, walking, resting). For instance, I’ve made it a point to take at least 2-3 days off per calendar month and so far, I’ve done well with that promise to myself, which has given me some much needed mental breaks from the chaos that is my job. I try to make it a point to have at least one of the 2-3 days spent doing very little planned activities. I’ve primarily tried to make it a point to stay at home and relax when I can.

My sexual health has been a tad bit better lately as I think my hormones night be trying to settle down (fingers crossed). I still find myself spotting more than I’d like (which is annoying), having the occasional and unexplained mood swings, cramps and occasional breakouts, but I’ve learned to live with them and have adjusted some of my self care routines to address some of the side effects. The peace of mind knowing that the probability of an unplanned pregnancy is highly unlikely, seems to set me straight whenever I get discouraged by the side effects (especially because we weren’t being careful early on). I will say that it worries me a bit that when it comes time to remove the implant (in a little over two years), will I struggle to conceive (should I want to), because I’ll have hit the age of being considered a “geriatric pregnancy” and complications will ensue.

Bonding and Family Acceptance

Over the past six months, I’ve been able to spend more time with getting to know the Teacher’s family. I’ve grown to really like them and from what I can tell, they seem to enjoy my company as well, which is a relief. About a year ago, I was nervously on my way to meet his father for the first time and now we’re on a first name basis. About two weeks ago, we spent the weekend with his mom and I really got to spend a lot of one on one time with her, which was lovely.

The Teacher has also spent more time with my parents and even came with me to a mini family reunion on my mom’s side of the family around The 4th of July. My family was very welcoming to him and he seemed to genuinely have a great time. I know meeting someone’s extended family can be particularly scary, because you really have no way of knowing (or controlling) how they’ll feel about you.

The Future

Lately, we’ve been invited to or involved with numerous milestones from friends. Weddings, Bachelor/Bachelorette Showers, Baby Showers, Engagement Parties, etc. For each milestone, it sort of makes me wonder what reaching those milestones might be like or if it’s too soon for me to even consider thinking about them. There was a time where I couldn’t realistically envision any of those things happening to me, but now they seem somewhat attainable.

Recently, The Teacher has shown a heightened interest in a ring that I wear infrequently on my right ring finger. The ring is silver and a bit on the plain side. Each time I wear it, he’ll comment on it, remove it from my hand and examine it closely. Sometimes he’ll playfully toss it around, which has made me warn him not to lose it. His response, “Well, I’ll buy you (another) one”. Perhaps I’m reading too much into this, but he rarely shows interest in the other jewelry I wear–even pieces that he’s given me. This also isn’t the first time I’ve worn rings, I’ve worn them here and there since we’ve been together.

Update : My speculations were true! Last night, The Teacher told me that he plans to give me “another kind of ring” around our anniversary (in four months). His reasoning? He says the two year mark seems like the perfect time. He also said he wasn’t really going to keep his plans a surprise much longer because he needs my help on selecting the right ring ūüíć .

Welp, hopefully I do a little better about blogging and less time stuck in la-la land.

 

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Prevention, Precautions and Side Effects

Some months back, I had a failed IUD experience that really traumatized me to the point of avoiding contraceptives in general. I shared my concerns with my boyfriend and he was extremely supportive and understanding of my decision.

Of course, several more weeks flew by and some of the hesitation of it stared to fade and we started discussing being more “careful” in general. In speaking to my Gynecologist, she suggested Nexplanon, which is an form of BC implanted in your arm. I admit I probably didn’t do as “deep of a dive” as I probably should have when considering this method. I just knew it was 99% effective. My main concern was the cost, which at the time of my consideration, would have been $350 after insurance .

what me

Yeah, no.

In speaking back to my Gynecologist via email (I actually go a Gynecology clinic that is housed under the umbrella of the hospital I work for and we have an app where you can communicate with your healthcare provider), she informed me that if I waited until 2019 to get the implant, it would be 100% free due to some coverage changes with my plan regarding contraception. Free.99 is always a win in my books!

yasssss gif

In the meantime, I still felt a bit funny about not being as safe as we needed to be, so I spoke to my Gynecologist once more, who suggested going on a combination BC pill until  I had the procedure done.

I’ll admit, going on “the pill” was absolutely the last thing I wanted to do when I started, but mostly because I had heard of all of the unpleasant side effects. I started taking it in late October (it was suggested I take it the first Sunday of my period–I guess for tracking purposes) and concluded my last pack in early January. During my time on the pill I experienced:

  • Extreme mood swings (even outside of “that time of the month”)
  • Frequent headaches and migraines
  • Constant fatigue
  • Increased depression and anxiety (I have already been diagnosed and take medication for it, but i felt worse while on the pill)
  • Frequent Agitation
  • Some weight gain (despite not changing my diet or exercise routine).
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Breakouts (in the beginning)
  • Decreased libido

Some more positive side effects that I experienced were:

  • Regulated periods (my periods have always mostly been constant, but the pill made them a bit shorter and easier to count on a calendar–prior to taking any BC at all , I tracked my periods with the app Flo. I still use the app to this day just to log symptoms I’m feeling and to keep track of the length of symptoms).
  • Lighter cramps during my period
  • Forced me to get up at a decent time every single day since the pill strongly suggests taking it at the same time everyday.

All in all, taking the pill wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, it was just inconvenient as hell and I felt like I was in a constant state of agitation. Like, constant. There’d be the rare occasions where I would take the pill later than intended and a handful of times where I left the pack at my boyfriend’s place (oops).

covering mouth

When the new year finally rolled around, I was excited to be just days away from getting the implant. Goodbye pill, hello convenient stick it in and go BC!

The appointment for the implant was mostly standard. My vitals were taken, my doctor explained some of the risks with the implant and asked me to sign a consent form to proceed with the procedure. Easy! I laid on the examination table, she gave me a numbing shot in my arm (which stung a bit at first), then she asked me to turn my head and a minute later she was finished inserting the implant in my arm. It couldn’t have gone more smoothly.¬† I excepted there to be some huge complication like I had with the IUD.

Before I left the room, she explained that there may be some swelling, bruising and minor pain in my arm over the next week or so. She suggested I keep the compression band aid wrapped around the incision spot for at least two days and also suggested that I finish the last week of my BC pills. Again, she mentioned possible side effects, but the only two that really stood out were: irregular periods and spotting. Gross. She closed with the reassuring statement of,  not every woman experiences this.

Several hours later the numbness of my arm wore off and I started feeling throbbing pain. It felt uncomfortable to naturally allow my arm to rest or dangle freely, so I propped a pillow under my arm (my left arm) for support. That and some ibuprofen seemed to help. The pain seemed to continue through the weekend, but faded by the start of the following week.

By mid week, the pain had mostly gone away, but my arm was a bit bruised, tender and felt funny if I moved it around too much or too quickly. I had also finished taking my pills mid week and with completing the “pack” brought on what I thought was my period…but this was not my period, oh no. This was “spotting“. This lasted for about a week and grew a bit heavier each day until my actual period started and came in with terrible cramps.

Now, I’ve always experienced painful cramps, but these were different. No amount of OTC pain medicine seemed to eliminate them (and I was taking the max amount each day) and they lasted the duration of my period (as opposed to the first 1-2 days like they normally do). And speaking of my period, it lasted a whopping 11 days. Granted, the flow wasn’t as heavy as normal, but it was consistent enough to be annoying. It was also annoying because I had no indication of when it would end. Once Ms. Flow made her departure, the spotting returned for another week and a half! Omg.

All throughout the messy red wave, I experienced a tension or cluster headache and sometimes a migraine just about daily. I’d wake up with one, it would linger throughout the day, I’d go to bed with one and start the entire cycle all over again. I was fatigue to the point of barely having energy to do simple household chores or even focus on basic tasks at work, and just didn’t feel “well” in general. While my mood was mostly stable during this time, the severe cramping, frequent bleeding, headaches and extreme exhaustion were kicking my ass. After about three weeks of this, I addressed it with my doctor, who basically told me to pop some ibuprofen and “ride it out” for 3 more months because apparently it takes your body time to “adjust”.

concerns

I read up on the experiences of many women who had gotten the implant and I’d say about 85% of them experienced the same symptoms and they did not go away for whatever duration of time past 3 months that they choose to keep the implant “installed”. Some women who kept the implant in for the entire 3 years claimed that none of this ever went away. That was super encouraging news. Greatttt.

My period and any lingering spotting finally went away (at least temporarily) maybe the last day or so of January and has “stayed away” ever since (according to flo, my period is almost over a week late). I’ve read that, that doesn’t mean those symptoms aren’t coming back and they could come back unexpectedly and for longer periods of time. There is literally no way to know when or if they’re coming back. All I can do is stay prepared. I hope I’m one of those lucky few women that either stop having periods or have them with longer time in between.

I’ve only had the implant now for a month and a half. These are the side effects I’ve experienced so far:

  • Frequent headaches and migraines
  • Spotting
  • Longer than usual period
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Elevated blood pressure (which I’ve had to now address with my Primary Care Physician)
  • Minor and infrequent arm tenderness (near the implant site)

One positive outcome from the implant has been the freedom of not having to remember to take a pill every, single day at the same damn time. It’s in and to my knowledge, it’s working as directed–I’m 99% sure I am not pregnant dispute my period being “late” since the algorithm of flo has no way of knowing my body is literally in a tailspin right now and my entire cycle has been thrown off.

As the my doctor suggested, I’ll assess how I feel after the 3 month mark. If the symptoms have “settled” or “stabilized” , I’ll continue on and keep it on a bit longer, otherwise, I may consider having it removed and going back to the drawing board.

Ready, Set, Reset.

My mind has been racing lately. Simply glossing over some of the posts I’ve written over the past month alone lends itself to showing how unsettled I’ve become as a person. Part of this I blame on simply being overwhelmed with how busy I am professionally (that I don’t reserve any additional energy into processing things in my personal life) and the other part I blame (though I *really* hate to) on anxiety.

While I never forget that anxiety is something I struggle deal with on a daily basis, it’s often something I neglect to show myself compassion over. I’m always kicking myself for not “growing a pair” and effortlessly maneuvering through life like everyone else seems to. Everything in life (in my mind) should be easier than this. I shouldn’t feel bothered by this. I shouldn’t feel exhausted for simply moving from day to day, week to week, month to month…I should be happy, appreciative, energized, inspired, etc…

But fun fact: I don’t.

Flashback to last Saturday night. I was out with a group of friends of mine that I’ve spent a fairly consistent amount of time with over the past year. I feel comfortable with this group of friends in a way that I don’t with other people in my life. I’m usually fully relaxed around them. After pre-gaming and roller skating (yes–we went drunken roller skating), we decided to end the evening in a local bar belting out 80s pop classics. What fun, right? What better way to spend a summer night? Easy breezy. While I found myself full of life and excitement early into the evening, towards the end of the evening (while at the bar) I felt this hefty weight of sadness consume me. It felt heavy and saturated like a wet wool blanket. My mind and heart started to race about all of the what ifs in my life and it was all I could do but to fake a smile in hopes that no one (in my friend circle or at the bar in general) would notice this mini internal crisis I was silently going suffering through. Maybe it was a combination of the one or two drinks I had and exhaustion…or perhaps I was having a mini anxiety attack, looking back on that night…I think this all came from realizing that I’m not happy with many aspects of my life right now and that I want better for myself.

The following day, I met up with two other friends of mine (separate from the friend group above) for a day trip to the beach, which was much needed. Something about sitting on the beach and listening to the waves crash is truly relaxing.

Beach - June 3rd

 

I remember doing this back around the holidays when I needed to clear my mind. I felt slightly more at ease Sunday, but still more on edge than usual, even with the waves. While with that pair of friends on Sunday, the theme of our day trip seemed to be Betterment. We all disclosed things we wanted to work on. Finances. Career Paths. Organization. Health. Relationships. Love. Patience. Acceptance. Hobbies.

I clearly need to work on all of those things and my mind started spinning as I made lists and goals as to just how I was going to manage doing all of those things better, but realistically, approaching self-improvement in that way is detrimental and in no way helping my anxiety.

I decided to narrow the broad range of things to “fix” in my life from the lengthy list that we collectively came up with down to two. Accomplishing bettering myself in those areas (or at least be well on my way) before diving into the other areas is reasonable. The two that I decided to address first were:

  • Relationships
  • Health

I selected those two areas first because there are short-term goals/issues that I’d like to accomplish/resolve that will move me into more long-term goals down the road.

As I mentioned previously, I’ve come to the conclusion that while things may naturally be fizzling out with BF anyway, I need to formally end it so that I can devote my energy into other aspects of my life. Without getting into all of the details, I’m not getting what I’d like to get out of our interactions and it’s become more of a hassle than an enjoyment to date him at this point. I act ridiculously¬†reckless¬†around him at times to an extent that I don’t even recognize who I am as a person. I like him as a person and find him to be a lovely (at times deeply troubled) guy, but I just can’t devote energy into this any longer. I’m depleted. Breaking up with someone (regardless of how formal or informal) just plain sucks. It’s awkward and you just feel like an asshole, even if it’s painfully obvious that it needs to happen. For what it’s worth, I think the situation served it’s purpose for the two of us for the time period that it needed to. It was (mostly) fun. Post “breakup”, I plan to start a dating detox. More on this later…

Health wise, I’ve kicked off this week by starting the keto diet. I’ve been stress eating (and drinking) for the past few weeks and needed to hit the reset button in order to make better choices. So far, so good. It’s been fairly manageable, especially since I’ve limited my social engagements to truly commit to sticking to the plan. I already feel like a boost in my energy levels and have noticed more restful sleep five days in. I plan to do this for at least another week or so before incorporating a regular exercise routine back into my day…days?

So that’s all that I’ve got for now. All of the other things I’d love to work on are on the back burner for now until I work through the first two areas or my anxiety levels itself off. Whichever comes first.

Baby steps.

K is for Kindess

I had a chit chat the other day with the ex concerning a potential health scare (that I think¬†I have) that I know he’s been dealing living with for more than 20 years of his life . If you knew him, you’d forget he has this issue because he doesn’t allow it to define him.

Conversation wise, he could have very well ignored me, told me to fuck off or simply dismissed my concerns as being “ridiculous”…but he didn’t. He treated me with genuine respect and kindness. He listened to what I had to say, comforted me through my anxious thoughts (because, anxiety!), shared his perspective on how he deals lives with this health issue and sent loads and loads of information on the matter as well as his specialist’s contact information.

That was super nice of him to do any of that, especially since it required him to do some some googles. After thanking him for the advice and apologizing for the interruption in his day, he said:

Don’t be :). You deserve compassion and kindness, you really do. Keep your head up, (name retracted). Please keep me updated on what you find out.

The kid’s alright in my books. I wish more people would practice kindness in this way. Hell, I wish I was able to be this kind more often. Maybe I should try working on that.

Mood Check-In

Gee, looks like aside from being “content” (which comes in spurts), I equally split my time between being bored, drunk, worried and annoyed.

Wonder if there’s a correlation ūü§Ē.

Vegan(ism) Day 7 – The Final Day

Ah, Sunday. I thought I’d never get there (just kidding). I woke up feeling lazier than usual, but probably because the forecast called for a steady downpur of cold rain all day long. All I felt like doing was snuggling up in bed with my blankets and binging on netflix, but I promised to meet a friend for brunch. Luckily, I got to choose the restaurant and I selected a place that I knew had ample veggie options on the menu. I ended up with black bean burger and sweet potato fries. Sure, I know the fries (and possibly the burger) were both cooked in the same oil as the other meat dishes, but I feel like I made the best choice out of the options available (aside from just ordering a salad–which, I was a bit tired of eating straight produce by this point). I’m not really sure how to deal with the oil situation in restaurants. I mean, can you? It’s not really up to you how a restaurant cooks their food?¬† I mean, you don’t have to eat there? Sure, you could ask wait staff every intricate detail of how something is made, but at the end of the day, even they don’t control the cooks or policies of the kitchen staff…so there’s no guarantee.

That would stress me out having to deal with that every time I wanted to eat something out. Not that I eat out often (this past weekend was unusual), but still.

I feel like I could go on this super long tangent here about the quality of foods in restaurants (and grocery stores) and how that food is prepared, stored, served, etc, but there are enough food documentaries (concerning health) on netflix and I don’t feel like I need to waste the time to say what has already been said.

Anyway, I closed out the evening with pizza and a glass of wine. As I half watched the superbowl, I thought about how it would feel to wake up the next day (today–Monday since this is being posted super late) and not having to obsessively worry about what I was going to eat.

Some things I learned on this “journey”:

  1. A lot of food contains animal products, even foods you wouldn’t assume would, like some snacks, dressings and even drinks.
  2. Many restaurants aren’t vegan friendly and while they may carry a specific dish or alternative here and there, the variety is slim (you’re looking at one maybe two dishes at best-though, you can be creative with sides and ask swaps like nut milks or steamed veggies). Restaurants that do cater to vegans/vegetarians are limited in more suburban/rural areas.
  3. Just because you’re eating a “plant based diet”, doesn’t mean you’re being healthy. Many snacks that are vegan, aren’t healthy for you just because they’re vegan friendly (i.e. oreos, laffy taffy, etc.). Many meat and dairy substitutes are a clusterfuck of processed nonsense. So essentially, while you aren’t eating food with animal products in them, you’re eating a lot of chemicals with possible long term effects on your body (which is another issue within itself).
  4. Abruptly cutting out meat and dairy is a shock to the system and may (at first) cause you to feel fatigued (also cold and shaky). I’m not sure if this is because of withdraws or simply from being malnourished (as a newbie who isn’t eating properly, because I ate like shit).
  5. Piggybacking off of the point above, I learned that dairy is a pretty substantial part of my normal diet even though I already incorporated nut milks into my regular diet as opposed to drinking traditional cow milk¬† (and I didn’t used to think so).
  6. You’ll use the bathroom more frequently (no seriously).
  7. You’re more hungry between meals and snacks. It requires you to be far more creative in snack and meal options to keep hunger at bay (you’ll need protein–nuts, beans).
  8. Slip ups can occur if you don’t plan well.
  9. Shopping for vegan friendly foods doesn’t have to be expensive (with planning).
  10. Certain vegan friendly staples (like black beans) are inexpensive and can be used in numerous dishes.
  11. You’ll have some anxiety at first because you’re having to adjust your train of thought and approach eating differently
  12. There will be times where you just have to “sit things out” (i.e., office birthday parties, chili cook-offs, etc) and that’s ok.

 

Some positive benefits (that I experienced):

  1. I’m more mindful/clear headed
  2. I’ve increased my water intake quite a bit
  3. I’m more aware of what’s in the food I am eating and think to check before assuming anything
  4. I’m more sensitive to people with plant based diets (or any other non-mainstream diets).
  5. I saved money (mostly by not eating out as much)
  6. I feel like I’m not as bloated
  7. I don’t feel like I’m missing anything if I don’t eat meat with a meal now
  8. I lost about 3.5 pounds

 

Ok, ok…enough with the lists, enough with the rambling, enough with the analyzing. While I don’t particularly feel accomplished or like a “brand new person”, I am happy that I challenged myself to do this. While I don’t believe I could completely go vegan, I could do better about eating a more plant based diet whenever possible.

Vegan(ism) Day 5 & 6

The last few days (Thursday and Friday) were fairly eventful, which caused me to spend quite a bit of time being social. As I mentioned previously, this “challenge” seemed “doable” to me because I also chose to socially isolate myself in the past week due to social exhaustion.

Friday, I did fairly well considering I was still ravishing hungry and increasingly drained. I didn’t partake in the office birthday celebration for my manager with the cupcakes I brought in and I primarily kept good pacing with the snacks that I bought (orange, grapes, cucumbers, humus). It was dinner that was going to be the true indicator for me on whether or not I was able to keep this going and I’m proud to say that I did alright. I went out for “Hawaiian cuisine” with a friend that night at a new place that just opened, and opted for a dish that contained zucchini noodles, seaweed, avocado, tofu, mangos, clementines and other assorted veggies. below is a photo. This not only was tasty as a VEGAN dish, but in general. I would order this even if I wasn’t trying to do this challenge.

POKE.jpg

Friday’s Meals:

Breakfast: Orange, Apple, Half a banana, water

Snack: cucumbers and humus

Lunch: Veggie sandwich, kettle chips, water

Snack: Grapes

Dinner: Poke & Noodles 


Saturday  is where things became increasingly complicated as I spent the entire day away from work/home and out of my routine. The day started off with a visit to the spa for a manicure with my mom. After the spa day, we decided to do brunch. We had been talking about doing this for a long before I considered doing this challenge, so instead of stressing about it, I figured I would just go along with it.

Well, there was a problem. We went to a crepes place. Crepes are made with eggs AND milk. Eggs and milk are both animal products. The restaurant had a healthier crepe alternative with buckwheat crepes, but the only difference was the flour used. As I drank my coffee (with almond milk), I studied the menu intentionally, constantly stalling to see what I could come up with. Practically every dish on the menu was a crepe and the only sides that were vegan friendly were potatoes (possibly saut√©ed in butter and duck fat–which is a NOPE), and fruit. Even the oatmeal contained, “cream”. I started to panic because I was starving and I didn’t feel like filling up on fruit and potatoes. I don’t even like potatoes that much!¬† I ended up just sucking it up and getting a strawberry filled crepe with bananas and eating around the crepe itself. I probably ate part of the crepe in the process.

For dinner, I met up with another friend for pizza. Before even heading to this place, I studied the menu pretty carefully and discovered that they offered a vegan cheese for a $2 up charge. My friend was very gracious and agreed to doing a veggie pizza with vegan cheese. It was surprisingly tasty.

Saturday’s Food:

Breakfast: Strawberries, bananas (from inside of a crepe), coffee with almond milk

Dinner: Woodfired Pizza with veggies and vegan cheese, water

Aside from the breakfast meltdown, Saturday went fairly well. I never realized just how complex it could be to select vegan friendly options from certain places without compromising the taste buds or desires of your loved ones. I didn’t have the heart to tell my mom that¬† I didn’t want to eat at the crepe place since it was our day out and those are her favorites.

I’ll write separately about the final day and how I feel about the challenge overall.

 

Vegan(ism) Day 4

Day damn four. I’m still hanging in there.

I had a particularly stressful day at work (yesterday) and found myself craving something super greasy and bad. I had depleted all of my reserve snacks (almost entirely produce) and even added a side with my soup at lunch (BBQ jackfruit), but I still found myself STARVING by the time I left work a little after 5. With about an hour’s drive home in afternoon traffic, I knew I’d be “hangry” by the time I made it there.

On top of things, I had to make a stop at Kroger to pick up a cake for a co-worker’s birthday celebration that we’re having today. Normally, this is an easy task and not one I put entirely too much thought into. Get the cake and dip out. BOOM. Yesterday was different though. I was hungry and approaching this task as someone attempting to live a vegan lifestyle.

As I strolled through the deli/bakery section, I found myself picking up various items to see if they were “vegan friendly”. Newsflash (sarcasm) almost none of them were. I think the only things I came across that I could eat were some assorted flatbreads and vegetable sushi rolls. Everything else either had eggs, meat or cheese in it. Even the soups and side dishes (like creamed spinach, mashed sweet potatoes, salads–but I knew all of these things contained no vegan friendly components). Was I up for supermarket sushi that had probably been sitting out since that morning?

Nope.

I wasn’t in there for me, but I couldn’t help but to make the trip about me. All I wanted was some really shitty comfort food and I couldn’t think long or hard enough to come up with anything substantial outside of eating an entire bag of kettle chips. I grabbed the cupcakes (which I won’t be able to eat) and meandered over to the condensed section of “Plant based alternatives” of the refrigerated produce section. There were an assortment of nut milks, humus, nut based yogurts, dairy free “cheeses”, plant-based oils and soy crumbles (oh boy).¬† I must have stood there blankly for about ten minutes before I came up with the idea of buying a block of dairy alternative cheese (daiya medium cheddar style) because I remembered that I had a package of soy crumbles just WAITING to be eaten at home. This called for vegan friendly nachos (drool).

I admit, I was kind of hesitant to buy the “cheese”, especially since my first encounter with the daiya brand was about 5-6 years ago when I purchased a bag of¬†Mozzarella Style Shreds and was disappointed when I realized it tasted like shredded styrofoam. Call me what you want….maybe I didn’t eat it properly (I think I put it on a salad), or maybe I didn’t store it properly and it expired…there could be an assortment of reasons why I didn’t like it, but I just didn’t like it and I’ve stayed away from these types of “cheeses” ever since. So imagine my interest being sparked when I saw that this brand sells the “cheese” in a block!

I got home and cooked the soy crumbles. They cook a little quicker than actual ground beef (or turkey/chicken as I prefer) and dries out if you’re not careful, so I decided to marinate it in fresh salsa so that the crumbles could absorb the flavor from it. My only other experience with soy crumbles was the time I tossed them in chili to “trick” my dad into eating vegetarian chili (we put actual cheese on it, so it wasn’t vegan). While the crumbles were doing their thing, I sliced up about a third of the “cheese block” and popped a small cube in my mouth. To my astonishment, it actually tasted CHEESE LIKE. It was creamy and savory just as you’d expect cheese to be. I was in heaven. I tossed the cheese blocks into the pan with the soy crumbles expecting it to quickly melt (like actual cheese), but it didn’t. The cheese seemed to be melting in “time lapse” motion. After about 8 minutes of this, I grew inpatient, took the cheese out of the pan (it was softer now, just not melted), tossed it into a bowl and put it in the microwave for 30 seconds. BOOM. melted cheese!

The vegan “nachos” ended up not being half bad (so ok, I mostly made a “cheesy”, “meaty” dip of sorts and just dipped the chips in there. I could have probably chopped up peppers and onions to toss in to, but I was too lazy). The soy crumbles had a bit of an odd aftertaste, but the “cheese” helped to mostly mask it. I became full a lot quicker than I anticipated with the soy crumbles, “cheese” and chips. I was–dare I say it, satisfied?

Here is what I ate yesterday:

Breakfast: 1 small apple, 1 banana, water, coffee with almond milk creamer

Snack: 1 orange, water

Lunch: Red Roasted Pepper & Tomato Bisque, 1/2 cup of BBQ jackfruit, water

Snack: Cucumbers, humus and grapes, water

Dinner: Vegan nachos (soy crumbles, cheese and chips), Halo Top (dairy free), water

 

 

Vegan(ism) Day 3

Day 3 down.

I’m almost halfway through this challenge¬†and I have to say that I’m proud of myself for sticking to it. Granted, I haven’t really been “challenged” this week as I’ve kind of been a social hermit for the first time in months (I’ve been out and “social” just about every night since mid-November) and there hasn’t been an abundance of food at work (for meetings, celebrations, etc). All in all, it’s been a fairly “easy” week in that regard. I believe the real challenge starts when you have to think carefully about your food choices when you’re away from home and your daily routine.

Some challenges I HAVE come across so far:

  1. As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been having a difficult time with variety in my diet and because of my choices, I’ve found myself to be unusually hungry between meals (even when incorporating snacks). I decided I needed to switch it up and add additional foods into my day to calm my hunger. I researched the interwebs for vegan friendly snacks (I literally typed, “vegan foods”) and took note. One of the things I really wanted to try was vegan cheese, so after work, I made a trip to Whole Foods (I threw the bag of chips in because my stomach was eating itself).

    The trip was successful, but I need to make it a point not to go when I’m already hungry as hell.

    whole foods

  2. Another challenge has been dealing with extreme fatigue. I feel a bit more zapped of energy more so than usual. I believe TheOdds1out mentions this in his vegan challenge video too. I’m getting the same amount of sleep and physical exercise, I just feel really drained. I’m going to attribute this to not taking vitamins as I do this challenge, but who knows.

Here is what I ate yesterday:

Breakfast: Chex (Corn) cereal, unsweetened coconut milk, 1 medium banana, coffee with almond milk creamer, water

Snack: 1 medium orange, water

Lunch: Red Pepper & Tomato bisque (made with unsweetened coconut milk), cucumbers, spicy humus, green grapes, water

Snack: small sweet potato (no toppings)

Dinner: Subway veggie delite, 1 slice vegan cheese, kettle chips (vegan friendly), sparkling strawberry and pineapple water

Dessert: Halo Top Non-dairy ice cream

 

On to day 4…