Saturday, January 21, 2012

Oops! Missed Blogging Yesterday...

I do apologize.
Totally spaced and didn't blog at all yesterday!

This is why I didn't blog:

Wednesday nights, Troy and I alternate hosting supper with another couple we are friends with, Katie & Riley. It was on Thursday nights, but our schedules had to be shuffled around.
We've been doing this since September 2011. It's been working great! Of course, it's always a vegan dish! And it's always been delicious!

Okay, not totally true.
There was a lasagna that really didn't work out, so we got takeout from 13th Ave Coffee House. But everything else=amazing!
This week, it was Katie & Riley's turn to host. We had Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's Pasta Primavera with Fresh Veggies and Herbs, a salad(we do win friends with salad!), and a fruit salad. Super good!

Katie's Cupcake-style Cake
Katie was trying to make a cake for her boss's birthday, she had already tried twice. She makes these really cool, cupcake-style cakes using this cake pan that is poorly designed. Like the one she made for my 30th birthday!
The problem is that there are two 'cake' parts to the single pan, but they're different from each other in shape and size, so it doesn't bake evenly. One cake gets super cooked, and the other cake is liquid inside.
She also has to contend with an oven that doesn't work well.

I invited them back to our place to try baking the cake again, using our 3 year-old stove/oven. Plus we have a dishwasher, and they would have to do dishes again, by hand at home.
So Riley & Katie came over to bake the cake, while Troy went to his parents to fix the hood of our car(it broke in the cold!). We got it mostly baked out, and Troy came home with his brother, Tyler and his girlfriend, Andrea in tow. Then Troy's cousin, Jay came over too.

I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but people exhaust me. I also have a hard-time paying any attention(making me more tired) when I can hear another conversation, while trying to maintain the conversation I am in.
Wednesday night was exhausting for me.
Katie, Riley and I were baking in the kitchen and everyone else was in the dining room, visiting. It got really loud, and distracting. And exhausting.
Don't get me wrong. I had a good time, it was fun, and awesome hanging out with everyone, but I paid for it later.

***The cake didn't work again. <wah wah> Clearly, we need to alter the cake pan and make it awesome!***
Luckily, Troy is a machinist, and he works with metal and such all the time!

On Thursday, I didn't do anything. Nothing.
Friday, we got some fresh produce in the morning. In the afternoon, we tried cooking the couple of appetizers for another dinner date we have next week.
Andrea(another Andrea), is trying vegan for the month of January for a nutrition class she's taking. She has to write a paper(I think...?), and wanted to pick my brain over dinner.
Of course, I said yes, love talking vegan!

She can't eat soy or nuts, so I wanted an appy that she could eat. We are making Curried Chickpea Cakes from Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook: Crazy Delicious Recipes That Are Good to the Earth and Great for Your Bod by Kim Barnouin and Pineapple Mango Chutney from Color Me Vegan by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.
OMG! Had these dishes last night(with steamed broccoli, snap peas and vegan garlic toast) and amazing.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My First Name

Yes, my parents picked my name.
Actually, to be more accurate, my dad picked Alyx or Jynx. My mom got to choose between those two names. She picked Alyx. My dad seemed to have something for x's and y's . . . he got the spelling for my name from a racy novel called Alyx by Lolah Burford.
Growing up, I only ever had the cover for this novel. I'm not sure what happened to the actual book. Once I figured out that I could find it on, I ordered it.

Must say, pretty bad.

I could be biased because I waited my entire life to read it. And it is a dirty book that my dad read.
I had a lot of hope for some profound, universal truth hidden in the pages, that my dad felt he needed to immortalize with his daughter's name. Or maybe that's mortalize...because I will die. Either way, disappointing.

I've often wondered how I would be different if I was called 'Jynx'.
I'm already pretty 'out there', or different from the great unwashed.
The reason I bring this topic up, is because Regina's vegetarian/vegan group(Regina Vegetarian Society) is finally active once again and one of my fellow members also is named Alyx. How crazy is that?!I mean, what are the chances that the only other Alyx that I know(that uses a 'y'!) is also vegetarian?! Craziness.
I haven't met her yet, our first potluck is near the end of March, but I am very excited!

That got me thinking about people with non-traditional names and how they end up. Did my father set me up to be a vegan? Without knowing it?
I guess having to spell my name each time I tell a new person taught me to not be afraid to try new things. I think....maybe.
More specifically, having a different name taught me to be okay with the weird looks I would get from people.
Maybe I'm used to being a tad different.
Maybe being vegan doesn't seem as daunting or terrifying to me for that very reason.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Opthamologist: The Revisit

Ginormous Pupils
I went to the opthamologist yesterday.

I stopped seeing double in mid-April 2010. This visit was a just a revisit (not the word I want, but I'm going with it), to see what my vision has done.
It's still working.
Opthamologists are a bit different than an optometrist. It's the branch of medicine concerned with the study of the physiology, anatomy, and pathology of the eye and the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the eye.
Optometrists deal more in prescription stuff.

I'm told that when my brain was injured, pathways were destroyed. So the information my eyes were sending was not being properly interpreted by my brain. Thus, I saw double.I was given a prism to wear on my lens (I've worn glasses since I was 8). The prism broke up the light differently so my brain could better interpret what my eyes were seeing. I wore that for 2 or 3 months till I stopped seeing double. The specialists put all sorts of drops in my eyes, but one drop made my pupils dilated for several hours. That's a picture of my huge pupils!
My brain seems to have healed some. Either by finding new pathways or fixing what had been damaged.      Wait-can brains fix themselves?


I see him again in January 2014.
It was fun answering all of his medical questions. I am really quite healthy. 
I'm on no prescription drugs, I don't have diabetes or heart problems. I've never had a stroke. No cancer. I can't think of the other dozen questions, but I did notice that all of these medical conditions have connections with eating animals.
Which I don't do. <thumbs up>

My pupil sizes changed after the crash. 
I tried taking some pictures to show you, but you couldn't really see my pupils... My left pupil is much larger than my right. Doesn't matter if the light is different. I mean, they do still change size with light changes, but they stay pretty different from each other. I was really hoping they would go back to being the same size once I stopped seeing double.
Alas, it's been a year and a half since, and they are still weird. I mean, whatever, it's not really noticeable, only now I look a teensy bit cross-eyed in photographs. <sigh> Ah well.
I'm not seeing double anymore and that is what matters.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

So What, If My Life Is Short?!

I keep hearing from people(especially once they find out some of my reasons for being vegan) that they only have 'so long on this Earth', and so what if their life is shorter?! They're going to enjoy it while they are here, and eat what they want and die happy.

Here's the thing:
It isn't like you just keel over one day.
Too often we end up suffering for an extended period of time, sometimes for years, with a debilitating disease or condition. Often we turn into a burden for family members.
I start to think about my friends and family.

I'm lucky. I am already familiar with being a burden(my family would maintain that I'm not a burden, but I know). I'm not just talking about the physical job of keeping me alive and seeing that I recover, but the emotional stuff too.

You can't tell me that your family wouldn't be upset if something happened to you. Okay, really you can tell me anything . . . I just won't believe you. 
I can't seem to shake my judgement that these people are being, straight-up, selfish.
Or maybe they've just never been forced to think about this.

Well, I have been forced to think about it.
I will tell you right now(and hopefully my family is reading this), I will be
plenty-pissed-right-off if anyone I care about dies of something that could have been prevented. Cause. . . as if you wouldn't be mad if you found out I wasn't wearing a seatbelt in the car collision! (I was-btw)

I'm just saying, if something can be prevented, prevent it.

Monday, January 16, 2012

My Position on Soy

I have heard a lot of criticism of soy. Namely that it's so dangerous because of the phyto-estrogen. Phyto=plant. Mothers seem to be overly concerned about their little boys growing vaginas.

Here's my thinking:
People have been eating soy and tofu/tempeh for centuries with no problems. There are scores of studies done showing the benefits of soy. Check out PCRM's work.

What about the plenitude of hormones in animals? There's well over double the amount of estrogen found in milk and flesh than in any plant. And that's certainly not plant-estrogen. I won't even get into the amount of extra hormones the industry adds to the feed of livestock to ensure quick growth.

People that have a problem with tofu and tempeh because they're curdled and fermented-how is cheese or yogurt made?

The other thing I see is that veganism and tofu, hell vegetarianism and tofu, are often slapped together. It's assumed if you're vegan, you must consume vast amounts of soy.
Again, pay attention to sources. A lot of the studies showing how dangerous and evil soy is, is often funded by the animal agriculture industries. I suppose they're thinking is if they demonize a bean, people will be too scared to stop eating animals.
I eat soy(including tofu and tempeh) probably 2-3 times a week. That's way less than meat at every meal that I see most people consuming.
You don't have to eat soy, there are plenty of other plants to choose from. I know a number of people that can't eat soy because they are sensitive to it or have allergies. They eat other plants. Simple.
I don't typically drink soy milk either. Almond or rice milk for me. I haven't even tried hemp, oat, hazelnut, peanut or cashew milk yet.
Troy and I also buy only organic soy. To avoid GMO's. 90% of the soy grown is to feed livestock, and it's mostly GMO, unless you're buying organic meat. So the cows are eating GMO soy, and we're eating the cows. Hmm...?
I'm more concerned with the amount of isolated soy protein I see on an astounding amount of package ingredients. This is not only with 'vegan food', but food most people buy. I've noticed this especially once I started paying attention to ingredient lists.
I no longer consume near the amount of processed, packaged food. Again, only 2-3 times a week if I'm feeling lazy, because I can make anything I want using just plants(whole foods), and if I'm not sure, I google it. Easy.

Soy(pun definitely intended!), let's not forget to use our brains when we get information.

Thought I would add Colleen' podcast regarding soy. Enjoy!
Soy Is Not Evil