Can you help me?

Monday, November 26, 2012

To say I am an emotional person is to say the Grand Canyon is kinda big. I feel everything intensely. A cause I believe in? I am all in. Relationships? I love with my entire heart, give it all and am loyal to a fault. This is not normal, and naturally I rarely get the same sort of thing in return, and that can lead to innrer turmoil, despite logically understanding it's me that is not normal in what I give.

When you feel everything so deeply, you can imagine too, what negative emotions can be like. I feel fear and hurt so deeply it becomes devastating. And self hatred? If there is a hell, that's what it feels like.

It's pushed people away. Some I am glad to see go (after all, if they can't empathize and accept my faults, then they're not the people I thought they were, or want in my life anyway) others I regret seeing leave.

I don't know how to be any other way. I've fairly been called intense, over the top, melodramatic. It's not by choice, I just literally don't know how to bring emotions back to a manageable level. I don't know how to keep things in control. God knows I have tried. The only thing that's ever enabled me to think logically and not react emotionally, is a heavy painkiller that numbs things. That's hardly a sustainable way to live.

So what do I do? How do I fix this? How can I live a little less from my poor heart? Help me.

Vegan Parenting

Friday, November 23, 2012

Am finding this a super interesting though and topic lately. Having again cut dairy as well as eggs and meat, I find it strange that I still provide all these items to my children. Why? Well, I also provide chocolate and treats sometimes whilst knowing they aren't good for them. All in moderation, so forget that - but having omnivore children means I am buying and cooking meat. As a vegan, that is confronting and challenging, but the alternative is demanding my children be vegan, despite having allowed them to develop a taste for meat whilst I was eating it as well. Just because I have change my mind and beliefs, doesn't mean I force them to, right?

Or does it? It's really a grey area, I think. I guess where I sit on it, is that my role is to provide options and information. I don't sugar coat what the are eating. It's dead animal flesh. They know that. I have had a few talks with my 9 year old about it, and he asked why dairy if it doesn't kill the animal and I explained veal and separation of mother and baby etc. He was horrified, but struggles because he enjoys the taste of these things. I reassure him that is okay, after all, it took me 34 years to reach that place. He is 9, in time, maybe. I want my kids to make their own informed choices, but I don't want to force it on them anymore than I'd force a religion or even atheism on them. It's their choice to make.

Is that controversial? Maybe, but it works for us.

Vegan is not a dirty word

Thursday, November 22, 2012

What's going on, friends? What have we done to the word 'vegan' to create a stereotype that sees people shut down before we can even begin to speak about it?

From what I can gather in my interactions, vegans appear to have a reputation as militant and judgemental. And that our food is boring and raw and healthy and not at all tasty.

I AM HERE TO CHALLENGE YOU! On all counts! Last night I went out to dinner with friends. I ordered fries, one ordered pizza and the other a big steak. As our meals arrived, the steak eating friend said she felt bad eating it next to me. I said 'it's fine, don't worry." The pizza eater said "it's okay, Kelly's a good vegan." A good vegan. I laughed and asked what that meant - "you don't beat us with statistics and examples of why it's bad all the time."

Interesting. I can't see it appropriate at all for anyone, to sit down to a meal with friends and lecture them on their food choices. I post links on facebook, I talk about ethics and health on my blog, I put the information out there, but I try not to lecture. Sometimes I border on it, but I try hard not to. I feel like I have to try extra hard because of the vegan stereotype.

What is interesting is that for me, the two major influences on my adopting a vegan lifestyle, two close friends who are both vegan, were not at all stereotypical in this sense. I have had no experience of such vegans. I've met only kindness, understanding, patience and helpfulness. I guess the old adage you win more flies with honey than vinegar (or whatever the fuck that saying is) is apt here.

I'll happily challenge the food stereotypes too, my goal is to show you can be vegan and not miss out on anything. The fact that I've managed vegan peanut butter and chocolate pie, schnitzels mash and gravy, and a number of other indulgent dishes shows that you can have comfort foods, junky foods, tasty foods and live a life of kindness and compassion to all species - it's not all quinoa and flaxseed. Promise!

A very vegan Christmas?

Monday, November 19, 2012

This year will be my first meatless Christmas. I'm determined to make it 100% vegan but that becomes increasingly difficult when you're planning a family lunch with all omnivores. So what do I do? I mean, it's their Christmas too and they're looking forward to a great Christmas feast. Including dead animal flesh.

So do I make my own food and let them prepare what they want, knowing only I will eat the vegan stuff? Do I insist on making at least some parts vegan only - surely they can accept vegan plum pudding? Do I skip traditional food and aim for lots of salads and appetizers instead of a great nut roast and hope that pleases?

I don't really know how to handle this. And it's the first of many. Anyone got ideas or experiences with this?


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Another busy week has ended, I finally have a life back again, at least until the pre xmas and RJ birthday rush begins in December. Yesterday was Finn's school fete, worked my arse off the past month making more Harry Potter stuff as I did for his party, to sell at the fete - at least this time I had help from another mum at school, and we killed it. Brilliant success! And, as you saw, on Friday, I had a birthday. What a year. Wow I have come a long way. I was just looking at a video taken 12 months ago and was gobsmacked at the changes both outside and in. I have hope for my life again, you can't imagine how that must feel. From despair, hopelessness and just existing to hope, passion and excitement about the future. Enormous. Exciting!!!!

So, I wanted to talk about my favorite birthday present this year. It's my new tattoo.

What does it mean? Well, in the simplest way to explain it, 269 was a tag on a calf sent to slaughter, it became representative and provided individuality to the millions that go through this all the time. It's personalising the cause, I suppose. You can read more about it on this link and this one. For me, it serves as a reminder for my passion and beliefs, and for where I want to be. The V is for vegan, and I will keep going. I feel more strongly than ever that pursuing a vegan lifestyle is what I want to do and need to do. This provides an opportunity to promote that as well, as I explain what it means when people ask. Giving a voice to the voiceless is becoming more and more important to me every day. I'm excited to have that reminder on my skin now forever. Solidarity!

Happy Birthday, me.

Friday, November 16, 2012

So, it's my birthday. I'm 35. I wasn't feeling good about turning 35, it just felt like I'd reached a crest and am now on the other side. From youngish to Middle Aged. Closer ever closer to the big four-oh. But, it sure beats the alternative. If I'm not aging I'm dead!

When I think about my life and look at the bigger picture, there's so much to be grateful for. There's so much to love about being me. I challenge myself endlessly for self growth and am making some pretty awesome leaps and bounds. Physically and mentally I'm a different person to the me of 12 months ago and I'm really proud of that.

I spend my life in the company of the most amazing friends anyone could imagine. The people in my life are not just people to pass time with or good mates. They are inspiring. They are real. They care about me and they cheer me on. They cry with me they celebrate with me and they genuinely care about my life and my happiness. I'm so lucky to have so many of those people in my life. It's overwhelming. I'm so grateful. From all over the world, my friends make my life so special every single day.

And my children. Who couldn't feel good about a life with these two in it?! My reserved, smart, sensitive, son who feels things so deeply and just wants to please. My funny, feisty, happy sunshine daughter who makes me giggle daily. So different to one another but so bloody amazing. They're my life. They're my reason. I'd do all the hard painful parts of my life over and over if it meant they are mine. I'm incredibly lucky to have them.

I've a friendship strengthened by blood bond with my mum and sister that fills me with a deep sense of belonging and happiness that comes from knowing I'm understood. Truly understood. I talk to mum every single day. She knows all my secrets and loves me completely. Nothing tops that feeling.

I have things I believe in passionately. Causes, creative ventures, things that make my soul sing and hum. I vibrate with life. I'm happy. I'm 35.

World Vegan Day P2 - FOOD!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Oh my aching belly! So much deliciousness. I didn't get anywhere near trying all I wanted to, but here is a selection of what was there that I *did* get to!

Mister Nice Guy cupcakes. These were amazing. So light and fluffy and delicious. From the rear L-R there is Champagne Strawberry, Key West Lime, Red Velvet, Peanut Butter, Chocolate and Vanilla.

The Champagne Strawberry cupcake was my favorite. Champagne buttercream icing, dense strawberry and light vanilla cake. OMG. SOoooo good.

My kittehs enjoyed the vegan petfood sample from the showbag. Devoured! 

Fritz Sorbet - oh how I wanted to try all the flavors but limited myself to two. Lemon (my all time fave) and this one which was apple raspberry and one of the best things I have tasted in my life.

This was a mini dim sim vegan style. Dense and heavy but not bad.

Vegan spring roll, light, flaky pastry and delish insides. 

A chilli-non-carne Funky pie. SO tasty!

The Satay Funky Pie. My fave. DIVINE.

How good a bargain was this? 50% off Booja Booja truffles, SO potent and yum.

My Vegusto stuff in action. A meat and cheese sambo yet vegan! The cheese on its own has a hint of sweetness I am not keen on, adjusting the tastebuds... it's great with other flavors though. The deli slices are SO tasty and good.

World Vegan Day

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

On Sunday I attended World Vegan Day in Melbourne. I was a bit nervous, felt like a n00b, despite having done some interviews and writing for their blog. Anyway, I wanted to be early to make sure I was able to secure all the loot I wanted to get so I got there right as it began at 10am, before the crowds! It was a beautiful warm day which was great. The atmosphere was fantastic, very relaxed and united. It felt great to be at something that I believed in, with so many other people who agreed with me! It was weird and a bit difficult being on my own. I felt self conscious for a good hour before I relaxed, and beyond that, it was sort of depressing not to have anyone to share it with or talk to or say "hey look at this..." That aside though, I really loved it. I left feeling inspired and excited about veganism, feeling again that real deep emotional joy that nothing but veganism brings out in me. I also spent a fortune, but FINALLY got my hands on vital wheat gluten to make seitan and cutlets with, as well as a haul of other things. See the pics below for details, and my next post for the food alone! I already can't wait for next year!

This is Vegie Head doing her cooking demo. She made yum choc butter and jam. Adele is absolutely gorgeous and so friendly. love her stuff.

This is a lovely goat, part of Edgars Mission

My good friends over at Turning Veganese have rescue bunnies. I saw this sticker and had to get it for them! 

Yummy World Vegan Day birthday cake!


This is my shopping haul. I have savoury yeast flakes, gluten flour, guar guam, Mister Nice Guy Cupcakes, Funky pies, Natures Quest skin and beauty products, truffles, vegusto cheese, vegusto deli slices, vegan jerky, tiramisu sauce, bunny sticker and my showbag. Phew!

This was at noon, only 2 hours in and it was buzzing!

Showbag contents - lots of literature, dish liquid, 2 soaps, vegan pet food, body wash and serum, a towel, a laundry bag and lots of discount vouchers!

Come back tomorrow for the foodie pic post!

My darling sister

Monday, November 12, 2012

On Friday, I went to my sisters for lunch. She is a meat eater, yet she goes to SO much trouble to make a vegan meal for me that it just makes me emotional. It's so caring and so supportive of my choice. She says that she feels bad for eating meat and doesn't blame me for judging her. I said I don't - not really. I have moments but I realise everyone is on their own path and that you accept and go to such effort for me is a show of support in itself.

She really laid on a feast, too. We had fruit in dark chocolate sauce, stuffed olives, cannellini bean and vegetable soup, a yummy salad and chickpea burgers and sausages. Then she showed me that whilst passing a bakery, she had seen vegan cupcakes for sale so had brought me two red velvet vegan cuppies. Bless her! How kind is that?!

I got she and my mum to taste the cuppies, both were floored when I explained the cuppie had beetroot in it, and the icing was tofu and lemon zest. You'd never guess it!!! DIVINE. My sister is awesome. My birthday is Friday so she even stuck a candle in the cuppie and they sang to me.

This is my beautiful sister with her lovely 'Squeak' who she has raised from an egg!

Red velvet vegan cupcake!

How good does this soup look? Tasted amazing.

BBQ - Vegan style!!!

#OpEleanor P2

Friday, November 9, 2012

An update on Op Eleanor. Have I been facing down fears? Hell yes. It leaves such a weird feeling, it's sort of exhausting. This mix of looking forward to something whilst at the same time desperately just wanting it to be over - I feel in a permanent state of that feeling and its high anxiety. Tough.

I worked! I nailed the interview I mentioned last post, and I worked for a few hours on Tuesday. I loved it. The sense of purpose and adult interaction and money... I offered more help in the future and she has my number so I will just hope. They were wonderful people to work for.

You know what else I did that seems completely nothingy but is a huge deal to me? I booked a spray tan. I've never had one before, whilst I am still a big girl, I am 39kg less than I was and confident enough to get one at least. Still nervous as hell, though. It's not a booth one, it's an airbrush vegan one from Lavish Tan. Thankfully, my communications with Alex so far in making the booking have reassured me it will be ok, she is lovely.

I'm also going solo to World Vegan Day on Sunday - nervous but excited. That same mix of feelings for all of these things. I think my adrenalin rush will kill me by the time December rolls around!

My nest is emptying a little

Saturday, November 3, 2012

I'm scared. There. I've said it. Scared may even be an understatement. Here's the backstory - I tried for almost 3 years to conceive my son. Eventually, I did so, and he is my precious firstborn. He's now 9, and in grade 3, time is flying by at a pace I cannot keep up with. We started trying for a second child when he was just 6 months old, knowing how long it had taken to get him, and aware the same challenge may present itself. In fact, it was worse. It took five long, pain filled years, rounds of clomid, of artificial inseminations, of giving up altogether, then of IVF and finally, finally, my beautiful daughter was conceived and came into this world. She is turning 4 next month. You know what that means, right?

It means next year she is off to kindergarten. 15 hours a week there, before beginning school in 2014. And I... I can hardly bear to think of it. That sounds dramatic, but you must understand how longed for my babies were. How much I have valued every second that slips past faster than I can grab onto it. How much I enjoy their company. When RJ was just two months old, my Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer. That first year of her life was a blur of chemo, surgeries, and fear. Not to mention the masters thesis that I had to write and submit. Mum is now three years cancer free, my masters is completed, and my baby girl is about to start leaving the nest.

I don't know how to prepare myself for this. Just thinking about it makes tears well up on my eyes and my heart pound. I know I am overreacting and I know I will adjust. God help me when they leave home. I am going back to school next year, so that will help me stay busy while she is gone. I have the Two Vegan Girls project to invest myself in. I just know I will feel like I am missing a limb when my little sidekick is no longer here beside me, permanently. It will be okay... right?? :(

Operation Eleanor

Friday, November 2, 2012

So, a friend of mine Undomestic Diva, last year started a challenge for the month of November: Do one thing every day that scares you. It's back on again this year. Inspired by Eleanor Roosevelt, this challenge is both simple and terrifying. Really. How willing are you, to step outside your comfort zone? It's hard. It's really, really, hard. But it's also incredibly rewarding in a way that you can't imagine until you do it.

It takes a lot of courage. But I am going for it again. November is the month of being brave. Let's go. November 1, I saw a post on facebook, a winery I once stayed at and loved was asking for staff. I was terrified. I haven't worked since being a SAHM to my kids, but this suited and so I thought 'be brave, have courage' and I called them. So I am going in on Saturday to talk it through.

Nov 2, something that has been on my mind for a few days nagging at me, kept pushing. It was then I read Undomestic Diva's post, and it gave me the courage to go from thinking to doing. You know, all my life i have put 110% into my relationships. I give so much more than I get. That's okay, if only I were getting just half of that back. I've been giving so much to another relationship recently, and it's just not coming back. I keep being pushed away, and even friendship is a big ask. When I left my husband and again when I had weight loss surgery - these were enormous decisions that basically came from saying, you know what? I deserve more. I am worth more. I believe in me. I can say unequivocally, that this recognition came from the edge. The very edge of believing I was worth nothing at all. Somehow, I found something to believe in in myself, and so I made those hard choices. What would it say now, if I were to ignore my worth again? It would all be for nothing. I don't want all that pain and hard work to have been for nothing. So, I stood up again, gave my inner self a big hug and said "I believe you deserve more" and I said as much to this guy. It was hard, because the insecure me - which is most of me - is scared. What if? And being alone, is horrible. But is only vaguely being with someone any better, truly? Especially if I feel undervalued and unappreciated? If he's not even sure he wants to be with me? Deep down, I think so, but it hurts. It hurts a lot. Do one thing every day that makes you afraid.

Op Eleanor is amazing. If you join, there's a twitter hashtag to follow - #OpEleanor, and you can follow Undomestic Diva and read along with her blog as well. Maybe just taking the leap to say "I'm going to do this' is your first scary thing?

Retrospective guest blog!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Nothing like missing ones own guest blogging post. Oops! Back in September would you believe, I guest blogged for the fabulous Veggie Mama! I love Stacey's recipes. They are vego without being tasteless or - god help me - all insanely healthy and raw. Taste, not missing out on yums, that's what I am all about. She has the lot. Love her stuff.