Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sorry For The Inconsistencies

My goal has been, with The Brain Injured Vegan, to post a new entry each day(except Sunday mornings-no, not church, just sleep) at around 9:30 am. I've been pretty good at posting by noon. Oops. Right, 9:30! I have my iPhone alarm set for 9:30am, to remind me to stop whatever I'm doing(some days that would be sleeping), and blog.
I usually have the entry mostly written the day before. In the mornings, I just review and change accordingly what I was writing. Some days, it takes longer to publish a post. Sometimes what I wrote makes little sense(I can tell when I was far too tired to be writing anything), and it can take a long time to think of how to write something. Think: grammar and tone.
Thesaurus and have been very helpful when I'm stuck on a word, like 'awesome', or lately 'rad'.

When I say 'too tired', I mean, my brain shuts off. I loose the ability to function. It's rather ridiculous.

Troy's work isn't open between Christmas and New Years. He works in a machine shop as the guy that checks the quality of the products they manufacture. He machined for the first 7 years that he worked at Brandt Engineered Products. He's been rocking the quality gig for the last 3 years. My original point that I was getting to . . .eventually . . . honestly, is that having Troy at home really throws my day off.
Don't get me wrong! I adore hanging out with Troy, but it's like . . . getting a phone call on your way out the door, and then you end up forgetting your lunch. Everything's out of order.
I'm a creature of habit. Well . . . all humans are . . . the point, that I'm trying to get to, is that routine and habit is how I handle/manage my brain injury. I learned, while learning to retrain my brain, that our brains love to categorize and organize. Don't fight it.
I use this same innate desire to organize, and for routine, to work for me.

So, I apologize that I'm not exactly consistent. I try to be. I am certainly not perfect. But I'm going to keep trying, damn it!

Friday, December 30, 2011


Dr. Michael Gregor is a founding member of The American College of Lifestyle Medicine, a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety & public health issues. He has lectured at The Conference On World Affairs, The Institute of Medicine, The National Institute of Health. He testified before Congress, and was invited as an expert witness in the defense of Oprah Winfrey in the infamous meat defimation trial. He is a graduate of Cornell University School of Agriculture & Tufts University School of Medicine. Currently, Dr. Greger serves as the director of public health and animal agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States.

Dr. Gregor also runs He posts short videos(usually under 3 minutes) about the latest in nutrition. Basically what he does, is he goes through piles and piles of research. He posts a new video each day. 365 a year.
He's vegan. He advocates a vegan diet. <thumbs up>
He really knows what he's talking about. And I love his voice. It's very relaxing.

I found out about his videos because my friend started posting on Facebook his videos often. They were really good.
I also heard the wonderful interview with him on Our Hen House in October.
And just a few weeks ago, I even won one of his DVD's by commenting on a story on Our Hen House's website, I had entered my name in a draw! And I won!! It was very exciting!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Not With That Attitude

I recall being at physiotherapy, a couple months after the crash, working on my balance with two physiotherapists. I was balancing on one foot for about 20 seconds, between those horizontal bars, with a therapist on either side of me, each with a hand on the waistband.
There was another woman there, with a severe brain injury from a vehicle collision, as well. She was working with her own physiotherapist. Her injury happened a few months prior to mine. Her physiotherapist asked her, at one point, if she wanted to try what I was doing. She declined, saying she knew she couldn't do it. Right on cue, I said, "Well not with that attitude." All of the therapists made an 'oooo' sound. It was pretty funny. Lucky for me, this woman was familiar with my ways from seeing each other multiple times a week at exercise therapy, so she knew I was teasing.

If I had to say the most important lesson this brain injury has taught me, it is a positive attitude helps everything.
Absolutely, 100% attitude.
If you don't think you can do it, you simply can't. Easy as that.

Of course, I realize things are a little more complicated than that.
I know that this woman isn't doing as well as I am. I know that her brain injury is probably, and very likely, very different from mine. At the same time, I can't help but wonder, if maybe she had a more positive outlook, maybe she wouldn't be as . . . brain damaged? Maybe, if she didn't feel so defeated...if that makes any sense? I know, for myself, when I have down, depressed days, I don't accomplish near the amount I'm usually able to. I can feel so defeated. I act defeated. So I am. Defeated.

Attitude, I've noticed, has helped me to try. Just try.
Even if I'm not totally confident that I will be able to accomplish what I'm trying, I do usually surprise myself.
Which is funny, cause how am I still surprised?? 

Don't get me wrong, I can(and do!) make some horrible messes, and foolish mistakes. Let me tell you what, boy howdy! But, and maybe I'm totally wrong here, but isn't that the point of living?
To make messes and mistakes? That's not quite what I'm saying . . . what I mean is, isn't the point of living, to make messes and mistakes, then to learn from those messes and mistakes?
Cause, once you're's too late. You can't learn. You can't change anything. Ever.

I love being able to learn about something, and then change my behaviour accordingly.
Live and learn, right? LOVE IT!! Love living.

This appreciation of learning(& living) helped me to accept that everything(okay, not everything, but an incredible amount of shit!) that I thought I knew, wasn't true. I learned, then adapted my behaviour accordingly. I'm talking about becoming vegan, in case that wasn't clear.
I also want to tell you to check your references. I can find anything I want, to justify anything I want justified on the Internet. Pay attention to sources. Who is this information coming from? Who funded this research?

Sorry, back on topic!
The brain injury just reinforced what I've been hearing from professionals for a long time. Being positive helps.

Learning to shift my thinking has been very useful! For both my brain injury and my veganism. I've been retraining my brain since waking from the coma, maybe that's why it's been pretty simple? Or maybe it just isn't that hard?
So, I shifted my thinking, as suggested by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau in an episode, Defintion: Vegan, of her podcast, Vegetarian Food For Thought.
“Can you eat this?” “Are you allowed to eat that?” Can you eat bread?” These are some of the common questions non-vegetarians ask vegans, and here’s the short answer: We can eat whatever we want. We’re “allowed” to have whatever we want. Nobody’s stopping us. It’s not illegal. We don’t follow a set of dietary laws, and we are technically quite capable. It’s not a matter of not being “able to,” it’s not a matter of “can” and “cannot.” It’s a matter of not WANTING to. Being vegan is not about restriction. Or limitation. Or rules. Or doctrine. We’re not forbidden to eat animals. We don’t WANT to eat animals. It’s a choice – and a powerful choice that has the potential to heal the entire planet. Yes, I said it. 
I couldn't have put it as beautifully as Colleen, so I took the above from her website.

Shifting my thinking helped immensely.
Now, I make sure to say to anyone that says I can't have something because it isn't vegan, "to be more accurate, it isn't that I can't have it, it's that I don't want it." I try to stress that being vegan is a choice. Just like eating animals is a choice.
Which I've found that most people don't even realize it's a choice. You don't have to eat animals.

The other day, we were out for lunch with friends, talking about which farm animals we would have if we had land. My vegetarian friend said she have goats. I said I'd have pigs(rescues-of course), they're so cute and smart. The man across from me(can't recall his name, I think this was the second time I've met him) said that he loved bacon too. I gave him a wry smile, waiting for him to make note of my necklace that says vegan. His wife was quick to point out my necklace.
His response was, "I'm a carnivore."
I said, "To be more accurate, you're a carnist. You're eating plants right now."
"With much protest." He replied.
"Biologically, we're both omnivores. I'm still able to digest animals and their secretions, I just choose not to eat them."
Of course, I didn't say it as eloquently, I stumbled over my words a bit. Troy touched my leg halfway through my speech, I suspect because it seemed like I was getting excited.
I was more frustrated with my bumbling mouth.
Either way, the guy didn't say another word to me. Which, I guess is fine. I spoke my truth. Maybe it'll get him thinking about choices. Or maybe now he thinks all vegans are clumsy, inarticulate and slow.
Maybe I didn't come across as terrible as it sounds. Troy and I haven't talked about that encounter.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My First Lesson Re: Supply & Demand

My family and I went to Florida, for Disney World, Busch Gardens and Sea World.
I think I was about 8. Yes, because I was in grade 3.

I remember quite clearly, one day, we went to a street market with numerous vendors selling a variety of items.
There was one vendor that was selling a large turtle shell(I could easily sit on it), I begged my Dad to buy it for me.  It was so cool looking and I loved turtles! I had three turtles in a tank at home. Surely this piece would demonstrate that turtle love. I wasn't putting it together. Even something as clear as this.
My Dad then explained the concept of supply and demand. He explained that if we bought the shell, they would just find another turtle to kill and take its shell, and sell that too.
But . . . turtles . . . ?
I no longer wanted that shell.
That was about 22 years ago.

I do want to say this about my memory: It is improving.
Tiny bits, each day. For 8 months, I had no specific memories of anything.
I knew, and understood who most people are that I see everyday, like Troy, my parents, and siblings. But really good friends that I hadn't seen for 3 years, apparently I was a bit unsure about.

Troy tells me that there were times that I called him 'Scott'(an ex-boyfriend from way back), while we stayed at my parents after the General Hospital. A bit embarrassing.
I know certain events happened, but I didn't know the sequence.  There was a time, while my brain was just starting to recover, that I had no recollection of these 'clear memories'.
Then I started to get these...almost sci-fi-flashbacks, usually triggered by a simple smell or even just the way the air feels. It's very strange, but rather cool.
Example: Made candy cane cookies with Mallory for this Christmas season. This recipe  uses almond extract. I damn-near cried trying one. Such great memories came back with that smell.
Ahh, the brain.