Earth Month!! & Other Semi-Relevant Things

I’m feeling peck-ish.

As I munch on the last cookie from a box of thin mints (yes, it’s Girl Scout cookie season, and all Girl Scout Thin Mints are vegan!) I want to talk about food.

You’ll see a steady flow of content coming this month, as April is Earth Month. Without being that annoying “Go Vegan, Save the World” person, I do want to mention that going Vegan is a huge step to reducing one’s carbon footprint. All the facts aside, in summary, help Mother Earth and try a 22-day challenge. Eat strictly plant-based for the next 22 days (or more realistically, just try one meal a day!), leading up to Earth Day, and see how you feel. Every day, I’ll be posting facts, challenges, recipes, and more fun stuff on my social media, so stay tuned!

There’s a couple topics I wanted to touch base on, here, this week.

First and foremost. Food. Don’t we all want to talk about food? Or eat food?

I’d like to consider myself a fairly healthy individual, but even I still have a pretty…interesting relationship with food. I don’t particularly stress eat, although I do crave sugar like no other, I do have a hard time turning down sugar, especially if I’m hungry. If you work in an office or around others that like to be social, then you know exactly what I’m talking about when I say—when you’re hungry and it’s Margo’s birthday, you’re gonna CRAAAVVEEEE half that cake.

Now, I don’t bring this up because of weight or anything like that, but I do bring this up because I have a confession: I ate the cake. And the donuts, because once I’ve eaten the cake, why not, right?

If any of you have an Asian mom, you know what I’m talking about. My work-mom brings me all the japchae and sweets in the world, and no matter how many times I drop the “I’m vegan”, I can’t bear to refuse, so I politely accept it and usually pass it on (shhhhhh…). At this point, the japchae at least doesn’t have meat and the spring rolls come with all veggies, but it seems the only part that has stuck is “no meat”. But hey, that’s progress.

This past week, my manager went back to day shift and I got a new boss. Whoop Whoop—work changes. We’ll discuss that once I have a better opinion on the situation, but long story short, I had a detailed conversation with the line-mom about what cake my last boss would like, so she could get him a little something before he left. As we discussed the best cake shops in Reno, it came up I had never had anything from the little local bakery, Nothing Bundt Cake.

To summarize, she brought me in a personal-sized white chocolate cake from this delectable bakery, that prides itself on using whole, real milk, butter, and cream.

My willpower stuck, at first. But having woken up late and gone to work on an empty stomach (we swung by Grateful Gardens on the way in to work to grab sandwiches, we were running a scheduled-late), by first break my willpower crashed. It went from “I’m going to pass this on” to “It’s vegetarian, I’ll just have one bite—I’ve never eaten there before, so it’s definitely an experience, right??” This went to noshing the entire thing, cream frosting and all (because it actually WAS that good), and following it up with a sweet cinnamon bun fresh from a local donut shop (because other people brought in stuff, too, and I always declined, so if I’m breaking it now, why not take advantage of it now??). Several points I want to make:

  1. Terrible, terrible decision. I don’t regret a thing, because it tasted phenomenal, but it was definitely a lesson learned. I’ve gone so long without butter and cream, even regular donuts upset my stomach. That cream got stuck halfway down, and 30 minutes later, I gotta say it still tasted pretty darn good on it's way back up. I spent the next 10 hours with a belly ache and a denseness in my stomach, but it did highlight to me a weakness in my current situation. Life has a funny way of doing that.

  2. Deprivation is never good. My mindset was “Every time we break a record, pizza and donuts always get brought in and I NEVER can have any, so since I’m already here, why not take part JUST ONCE.” Instead of viewing it positively, I had started to view things very negatively. Still not sure how to spin that positively without breaking the bank, but I definitely know viewing things from an “everyone except me” standpoint didn’t do me well, in the long run. And this is something I think we all can sympathize with—whether it’s trying something new, or trying to abstain from something old.

I spent the last work week eating leftovers from the weekend, and when I ran out, my current balance didn’t provide time to prep anything more. So I ended up in a situation where I was hungry, and the only options easily available were outside of my dietary restrictions—they weren’t vegan, but they were definitely easily accessible. Gifted to me in all it’s single-use plastic and pretty stickered & ribboned glory. This brings me to the point I want to make: If you don’t set yourself up to succeed, your basically setting yourself up to fail.

This goes with anything—diet, exercise, any form of goal. It gets exponentially harder when you’re not only fighting to create a new habit, but when you’re going about your daily business struggling to maintain. Because you’re hungry, because you’re sleepy, because you’re full of worry or anxiety.

Plan ahead, and succeed.

Last night, I juiced and bottled before going to sleep, partially because I couldn’t sleep, and partially because I wanted to have healthy options in my refrigerator to grab and go. If I’m trying to incorporate more fruits and veggies, having them readily available and not unwashed, un-chopped in a baggie, definitely makes a difference whether or not they’ll get eaten or thrown away.

It’s an unfortunately wasteful, slightly painful reminder that I need to put more time in preparing myself, and not scampering to get things done last minute.

Am I disappointed in myself? No. Because this is a journey to be better. And we all stumble and trip. And as a corrective action to this situation, I’m more focused and taking action to prevent it from happening again (for me, this actually includes purchasing and making vegan sweets to take to work, as an alternative when those cravings hit).

Be prepared.

Now, the next part:

This plays in to April and Earth Month.

Feedback is a gift—that is truly something to live by. By posting slightly controversial things (my facebook isn’t a business front, it’s actually my personal page filled with co-workers, family, and childhood friends) I aim to both educate, and get conversation going. I came from a small, industrialized town seated in the heart of midwestern farm land. Many of my views are not the views of those I grew up with and those that raised me—in fact, they’re quite the opposite. I went to our city’s school, which didn’t have a “bring your tractor to school day”, but you can bet half the kids I played city sports with did!! FFA was a thing, 4H was a thing, and it wasn’t unheard of to see a lady or two riding a horse down the middle of the street as you get closer to the south end of town (she was my friends mom, who would ride into town!).

The point isn’t who is right or wrong, it’s facts. And even if we don’t share the same view, if I’ve captured your attention, especially long enough for you to reach out to me to respond, I’ve done my job. As your questions, comment on my responses, and come to educated conclusions, either way. I encourage debate, so long as it remains respectful. Because ultimately, you are the owner of your own actions. I can’t make those decisions for you, and they’re the most impactful when they come from your heart. So continue to comment, continue to question, and continue to grow.

The last thing I want to touch on, and it kind of plays on the last point, is engagement. Both with this, but in our everyday lives. How many of you go through the motions? How many of you wake up, go to work, eat the food readily in front of you (or buy take-out based off what is most convenient), go home, drink a drink while watching TV, and mindlessly through social media, thinking “I should do this, I should try that” until you fall asleep? Wake up, wash, repeat.

I’m guilty of this, and from above-said self-reflection, I need to stop. But how many of you are really engaged? Engaged in your life, your community, your surroundings? How many of you actually ENJOY what you’re doing, most of the time?

As we get into April, the focus on Earth will be based on Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling (like we learned back in grade school!) but as I finish up my 30-days of being single-use plastic free, one of the biggest factors in whether or not I was successful that day was yes, 1. Prep Work, but 2. How actively engaged I was in my life. Was I being proactive to a situation, or reactive? Was I prepping to drink 2 coffees, one on the go, with dinner out, or was I reactively exhausted, getting emergency espresso (after planning on NOT needing it), and then ordering lunch at work because I either unrealistically planned, or didn’t actively prepare, at all. Even just slightly, raising my consciousness around what goal I wanted to achieve brought forth awareness to what I was doing that went against that goal. The more mindful I became of a single point, the more that mindfulness spread to other aspects of my life (and honestly, stressed me TF out, and then I slept in an exhausted coma for 3-days…almost wish I was kidding). BUT, the point being, you gotta start somewhere. So pick something, something small, and pay attention to it.

That’s it, that’s all I’ve got.

I’ll have a new video up in the next 24-hours on my YouTube, but tonight is also a housewarming for a coworker. Gotta get a quick workout in, drop off final payment to HighRock, and make a quick stop at the grocery store beforehand (Imma whip up a quick dish or two to take—veg friendly ;) )

I hope you all have a wonderful week!!