Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Vegan Living With A Non-Vegan

I read Skinny Bitch in the spring of 2010.
Once I read that book, I knew my life would be forever changed. I began reading aloud to Troy, the parts that I thought would interest him. I was blown away by a lot of the information, and I figured Troy would be too. It introduced some nutrition and health ideas that we had never heard or even considered before.
How can milk be bad for you?!?

I can't recall exactly how Troy reacted to my announcement that I was becoming vegan. Actually, I can't recall even telling him. It just seemed like the natural next step as I learned more about the food industries.
Well, of course I'm becoming vegan!

He simply asked if I understood that I would have to learn to cook. I said that did occur to me, but I really wanted to try this vegan stuff. He said he was fine as long as he wasn't required to go vegan too.
He wasn't. And isn't.

As I'm sure I've mentioned before, Troy didn't typically cook or eat a lot of plants. Pasta and bread, sure! But his experiences in the kitchen has primarily been preparing parts of dead animals and their secretions, or baking with their secretions.
We learned a megaton that first few months.
I read Troy Skinny BastardEating Animals, The China Study, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows,  and The 30-Day Vegan Challenge over the last year and a bit. Reading aloud has been very helpful in practicing my speech.
If I'm not good at something: practice, practice, practice.
It's good to read books too because it expands your vocabulary. In fact, I credit my fairly large vocabulary(well, it was definitely large before my brain injury)to my learned need to read. Which makes my, sometimes, inaccessible vocab all the more disheartening. There's a lot of words I don't normally say in my regular speech, but it's great practicing how to form sounds together.

Okay, I just read what I wrote, and I sound like a RIDICULOUS NERD!
"It's great practicing how to form..."<mocking tone>
Ugh. <sigh> Seriously though, I know it gets so frustrating when something isn't working. I am guilty of getting entirely too frustrated for many things. I get worked up, and Troy has to tell me to stop shouting while looking for a juicer at Home Outfitters, and it turns into this whole "thing"!
No, it doesn't get that bad, but that is a real example. Usually once Troy's told me to chill out, or to stop shouting, it's alright. I do tend to get more worked up at stores...there's a lot of people...and stuff...
Off topic!      Focus Alyx!!

Troy was very patient with me in his kitchen(let's be honest here, it was his kitchen for the first 4 or 5 years we were married). For the first few months I was learning, he had to cook with me because I would get distracted and completely forget that that burner had been on high for entirely too long, or I forgot to cook the rice, whatever, the point is that I would usually forget something.
It was actually a bit of a safety concern.
Luckily, I am able to focus a bit better, so I can cook and bake and Troy can be at work, and not worry about me burning our house to the ground. Yay Brain!

Troy has been so incredibly patient with me and my brain injury and me being vegan. That's the best word to describe Troy. Patient. 
I'm sure he would disagree with that assessment, but . . . he would be wrong.
He's patient.
He understood when I told him we wouldn't be buying animals or products made from animal parts. It took about 6 months of me being vegan for me to finally persuade him to give his parents our frozen cow carcass pieces.

I tell him everything I know.
Okay not everything, because sometimes I can't convince him to take the time to listen to a podcast, or watch a documentary. I don't feel confident in my ability to express some of  these ideas, and certainly not as beautifully or poignantly as these podcast hosts or documentarians(it's a word now).
But most things he'll give a chance. He watches most documentaries with me, if I'm willing to wait for him to be ready. (Or sometimes, I can't wait, so I watch without him. Then I just watch again with him later-doesn't matter to me, it's good to see what I missed.) Sometimes he'll want to watch the moment I suggest it, but other times it takes longer. That's fine. Took me over a year to watch Earthlings.

For reading, Troy doesn't like it much. He does read comic books, excuse me, graphic novels. 
Personally, I LOVE reading!! I am more than pleased to read my vegan library aloud to him as he's drawing(he's a really good drawer!).

It's been established that no non-vegan food in the house. Food at home is vegan. Troy also takes vegan lunches to work. When we go out, Troy does eat animals.
He regularly goes a month or two not eating them, then when we're in a family/social situation, he eats animals. He feels like poop for 2 days afterward, so he definitely sees the absolute health benefits.
Give him time. He'll wake up.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Making Some Phone Calls

I thought, for sure, that I had posted on my blog. 
Apparently, I got distracted editing posts I had already started. <sigh>

Been making some phone calls to Kraft and Harley Davidson.
I called Kraft a couple weeks ago to find out if their Premium Plus crackers are indeed vegan. The ingredients are. Except the amylase is questionable. Amylase has plant and animal sources. I tried Googling(yes, it's now a verb), with little luck.
No, that's not true. I didn't try for very long.
I got frustrated and phoned Kraft instead.
Right to the source.

I neglected to write the lady's name down that answered at the call center. I wrote down other key points though, but this isn't necessarily 'word for word'.

      "Hi, in your, well no, in Kraft's Premium Plus crackers, the amylase, is that sourced from plants or animals?"
      "Let's see...'amylase blah blah blah'"  she read me the definition and use of amylase
      "Right, I understand what it's used for, I just wanted to know if the source was plant or animal-based."
      "It doesn't say here. . ."
      "Okay, is there someone I can talk to that would know?"
       "Just a moment, do you mind holding?"   she was very nice
       "Hi, apparently amylase has many sources."    I remember grinning widely when she said that
       "But we use barley."  HOORAY!!
       "Well, thank you."

See, took no time. 
Okay, that's not true either(look at me lying today!),
 the phone call probably took about 40 minutes.

Today, I called Harley Davidson Canada.
I called because Troy's dad maintains that the leather used is from cows we eat anyway. From everything I've learned about the leather industry, I was pretty sure this wasn't the case. My response to this assertion has been(till I could confirm), "whatever makes you feel better."
Well no more! I tried to sound strong and determined there
I thought I'd start with Harley Davidson because Troy, his dad, and his dad's side are all really into the Harley stuff and motorcycles, etc.
"Hi, where do you get your leather?"
"I don't have that information."
"Is there someone I can talk to that knows?"
"Not sure, let me check."
"Can I help you?"  Different guy
"Yes, where do you get your leather?"
"Hmm, good question, I know China is one place...but other than that I'm not sure. Could I put you on hold to look into that?"
"Hi, mostly from China, from what I could find. Why do you ask?"  He seemed genuinely interested.
<grin> "I'm vegan. My husband and his family are really into your stuff and they ride, and my husband's dad always says that leather's from cows that we ate, but from everything I know about the industry, it's from completely different animals on other continents. I just wanted to confirm before saying anything, you know?"
"Yeah, I really do. Yes, mostly from China, leather from cows, sheep, and some goats. There are some small leather patches that are sourced in North America or in Canada. Does that help?"
"Yes. Now I can talk and know what I'm talking about."
"Yeah, I-told-you-so's are good."  We shared a laugh and said good-bye.

So next time, I'll be sure to be confident in my response.
Makin' phone calls. Oh yeah.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Life Lessons

A few things I learned about how to

handle life from my 
severe brain injury:

**this applies to vegan schtuff too**

1) Attitude: If you don't think you can, you can't. Simple as that.
**Please see Not With That Attitude, for more details.

2)Patience: With others that have brain injuries and with those that don't 'get' veganism. Nope, scratch that. Have patience with everybody.
Remember Alyx, it was not that long ago, that you thought going vegan was extreme.

When I hear the word 'patience' in conversation, I almost immediately begin singing(in my head-sometimes) this Patience song from my childhood. It was on an old LP my parents had called Music Machine-The Fruit of the Spirit. I could only remember bits of it, it's been decades since I've heard it. I've always remembered,
"Have patience, have patience, don't be in such a hurry. When you get impatient, you always start to worry. Remember, remember that God is patient too, so . . .blah-dy blah blah blah, blah-dy blah blah blooh." 
That's all I could ever remember. <frustrated face>
But alas! The good old Interweb found the lyrics! (Google actually)
"And think of all the times when others have to wait for you."

3)Forgiveness: Forgive yourself for your mistakes, both past and present ones.
The beautiful thing about life is you can keep adjusting. I love that once we learn, we can always make a change. You're allowed to change your mind as information becomes available.
I can think of oodles of examples of past mistakes(the bee incident, to name one example), but I've been educated, so if I make the mistake again, I can reflect on that mistake. What was the problem? How can it be avoided in the future? Reflect, adjust and forgive.

4)Be Brave: It is unfamiliar, and therefore scary, but try. We often find that it wasn't terrifying, and that it was actually great. 
Trying new ingredients, or navigating social circles is different. But I've found that the ingredients are amazing, and new social situations can be very rewarding and genuine and beautiful!
I often tell myself to, "Be brave! Suck it up! Rise above!" when I'm nervous. It usually helps.
Sometimes you just need straight talk.

**My sinus cold is almost better! Been eating a lot of Garlic & Greens Soup**

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Joyful Girl

Joyful Girl by Ani Difranco

I do it for the joy it bringsbecause I'm a joyful girl 

because the world owes me nothing
and we owe each other the world
I do it because it's the least I can do
I do it because I learned it from you
I do it just because I want to
because I want to

everything I do is judged
and they mostly get it wrong
but oh well
'cuz the bathroom mirror has not budged
and the woman who lives there can tell
the truth from the stuff that they say
and she looks me in the eye
and says would you prefer the easy way?
no, well o.k. then
don't cry

and I wonder if everything I do
I do instead
of something I want to do more
the question fills my head
I know that there's no grand plan here
this is just the way it goes
and when everything else seems unclear
I guess at least I know
I do it for the joy it brings...

I have JOY tattooed on the back of my neck.
I've always found this song really speaks to me on a level that no other song has.

I like to think that it relates easily to my veganism as well. "I do it cause it's the least I can do"
I can do ASL to half of this song. It's a slow song, but I still can't manage to keep up.
Actually, that's not totally accurate. It's more Signed Exact English than American Sign Language. I learned some SEE in elementary school watching the interpreters.

I use for a lot of the words. Just in the last two years I've learned that they are different ways of signing. SEE is more word-for-word, and ASL slangs up English and grammatical order doesn't seem to matter much. That's my general understanding. I plan to take an ASL class this year. We will see what level I'm at, and if I've been doing things horribly wrong. I'd like to think I haven't been brutalizing the language.

I would also like to mention(in case I haven't before): I adore Ani Difranco's work!
My good friend, Patrick, introduced her music to me in grade 12. He was driving me home from some extra-curricular activity(could have been vocal jazz, mural club, drama-something, etc-can't recall now), and he played 'Untouchable Face' on his stereo. It was magical.
Ten plus years later, I have 25 of her albums(there's more), and I've seen her play live 5 times. Once in Calgary, Alberta, once in Regina, Saskatchewan, once in Morristown, New Jersey(we just happened to both be in Morristown), once in Winnipeg, Manitoba and most recently in Edmonton, Alberta.
I think I'd like to see all of Canada going to her shows. She's that good! Never been disappointed!

Monday, January 2, 2012

I Have A Sinus Cold

Troy got this cold on Wednesday night. On Friday, Troy's mom called to see how he was doing, and if I was sick too. I wasn't. Not till 2 hours after Troy hung up with her, my throat and head felt really hot.
Womp Womp                      Well, that sucks.

Saturday morning, when we usually go for breakfast, I tapped out. I was feeling exceptionally shitty.
It was New Years Eve, and I had to tap out of everything.<super frown>

***I have to get Troy to take a picture of my 'super frown' to show you! It's pretty amusing. I can frown huge!!***

The plan was to spend New Years at home, with a few of close friends. Jeff & Sherri came to visit family from New Jersey. We were gonna make Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's Creamy Mac & Cheese.
Alas, Troy cancelled with them.
I'm super glad we spent all afternoon with them on Wednesday, since they leave on January 2nd.

Instead, we spent New Years Eve sick, in the basement(where we keep our television-we have usable basements in Regina, Saskatchewan), and watched Step Brothers with our dogs. It was pretty special.
That's what we did yesterday and today, as well.
Sorry, let me clarify. We didn't watch Step Brothers over and over again for 3 days(it's pretty funny, but it's no Anchorman). We watched many episodes of The Big Bang Theory and Star Trek:The Next Generation. LOVE Picard!

My cold seems to be a bit different from Troy's. Mine is definitely more of a sinus cold. My eyes and nose are always running and I'm sneezing a lot. It's pretty hot.
Troy's got a bad cough. But we both feel sore everywhere, we have zero energy for anything. For me, I can't focus for very long. It's taken me all day to write this post!
So, again, I apologize for my tardiness. I should have seen this coming. I always have a cold over Christmas or New Years.
Happy New Year-btw!!

I've decided to do PCRM's 21-Day Vegan Kickstart, once I'm feeling a bit better. I know I can eat better. Troy and I have slipped into eating more processed foods because we've been busy. I also want to eat more raw.