Archives for July, 2012
Years ago, when I made the decision to become a vegetarian, I prepared answers for all the replies I knew were coming: We have canine teeth for a reason. You won’t get enough protein. I give it two months. (That last one was from my best friend. Supportive, huh?) I wasn’t prepared for one of the most common replies I got, though: Wow. That’s going to be really expensive. At the time, the way I looked at it was: If I’m no longer spending money on meat…won’t I have more money for other things…? That turned out to be true – kind of. The thing is, I found myself spending more money than I was saving on good stuff (fruits, veggies, lentils) and not-so-good stuff (frozen pre-packaged meals, tons of pasta, sugary crap). Fortunately, it didn’t take long for me to figure out how to shop more wisely (and still be able to pay rent).
Happy Tuesday, readers! Last week I told you about the mental health day I took (and the unsurprising surprise some folks felt when they found out). Now, I'd like to share some pointers I learned during the day - some mental health day tips, if you will. You might think taking a mental health day is a sort of no-brainer. You just call off school or work and chill out, right? Well, sort of. For a truly successful mental health day, though, there are a few tips you can follow.
Not to state the obvious, but it's hot. So hot that most of my cooking these days consists of me staring at the oven and then ordering take-out. It's not that I don't want to make myself dinner, it's just that my tiny kitchen threatens to roast me alive any time I even think of turning on the oven. Unfortunately, my sweet tooth doesn't seem to register that baking is out of the question. All it wanted for the last three days was pie. Raspberry, cherry, peach - it didn't matter. Just give me pie! it kept shouting. Give me pie or I will wake you up at 3:30AM with such a craving that you will be forced to mix a spoonful of peanut butter with a spoonful of chocolate sauce in the dark. Alone. While wearing a bathrobe. Since the aforementioned scenario was embarrassing enough the first time around, I decided that something had to be done to appease my need for sweet. I wasn't going to be baking, so a traditional crust was out. I was also battling a nasty head cold, so doing any kind of major prep was impossible. After leafing through some recipes, I finally decided on a raw, vegan fruit tart - it would be fast, easy and full of the sweetness I had been craving.
Yesterday, I took a mental health day. I've had a lot on my plate lately, most of it dealing with an occupation-related transition, and about half-way through my first cup of coffee yesterday morning, I decided I needed a mental health day. Not many people knew about it simply because, aside from a few texts and a trip to Papa John's (yes, Papa John's - we'll talk about that later), I didn't really talk to anyone. The one person I did call, though, had an...interesting reaction when she found out. The conversation went a little something like this:
Mmm, fresh strawberries. Monday was the first day I've bought them since last summer, and it wasn't because I had a craving for them or realized it'd been too long or saw they were on sale as I passed the produce section. Nope, it was because a friend of mine has kept her 'fridge stocked with them for weeks now, along with other fresh produce like cherries, organic baby carrots, and leafy green spinach. This probably doesn't seem remarkable to you, but this particular friend of mine is not a huge fruits and veggies eater. She's always been more of a meat-and-potatoes type of girl... ...until she started spending more time with another friend of ours who follows a more plant-based than animal-based diet. Now, this isn't about vegetarian or vegan diets; rather, it's about how one person's behavior can affect or influence another person's behavior - in this particular case, influence that behavior in a good, healthy way. Friend #1 watched Friend #2 eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, and it led to Friend #1 making more mindful choices at the grocery store. (It also led to me realizing I hadn't bought strawberries since last summer!) Has another person's healthy diet and exercise choices ever influenced your own?
Since last Friday, my area has been hit pretty hard with extreme heat waves and severe winds and thunderstorms. Naturally, Mother Nature's cranky mood led to ongoing power outages, which led to little relief from the humidity and high temperatures, a lot of spoiled food, heat-related health problems, and... ...our own cranky moods. This isn't the first time I've dealt with a long-term power outage - not by a long shot. However, it might be the first time I've dealt with one while simultaneously dealing with unrelenting temperatures and hostile weather conditions. Needless to say, I learned a lot about staying healthy when the heat is on (and the power is off), and I thought - now that my power's back! - I'd share them with you.