the 100 day project – day 76-78

FOOD POST.

Now for something completely different. Today I posted my dinner on my Instagram and a bunch of people asked about it, so I’m just doing a quick synopsis here.

photo (18)

Today was a hot one, so I decided to make a big salad for dinner. Being a Sunday, I’m also preparing lunches for the week ahead. For this reason, I used the ever popular kale as my base. Kale is great, because it doesn’t wilt like so many other greens. You can dress it and then let it sit in the fridge for days, and it will still be great.

THE KALE – One bunch of kale rinse, and then ripped up (stems discarded). I usually just glug a few teaspoons of olive oil into my kale and then massage it into the whole bowl until all leaves are covered. Let the kale sit for a few minutes, and then generously sprinkle with nutritional yeast (to taste. I use A LOT.) and toasted pumpkin seeds. I also tossed in some kelp noodles for good measure.

BARLEY – As an alternate to quinoa, I often use pearl barley as my salad grain. It feels more substantial, and it’s also nice to mix things up. Prepare according to directions, then add salt and pepper.

TOFU – Cut up a block of firm tofu and then marinated in a mixture of 2tbsp tamari, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1tsp olive oil, sriracha to taste, a dash of apple cider vinegar, a dash of liquid smoke, a tsp of maple syrup, and garlic and ginger to taste. Marinate for at least ten minutes, and then just pan fry until golden.

BEETS – I just washed, peeled and finely sliced some beets. I should probably get a mandoline. Lately I looooooooove just eating thinly sliced beets as an accompaniment to everything. Even better if you can get some beautiful candycane or golden beets. Aside from being great with salad, they are also just a good alternative to carrot sticks to dip in hummus.

I arranged all of the above guys in a bowl, then threw in a giant scoop of plain greek yoghurt, and a giant scoop of sweet potato hummus from a local deli. Hot sauce on everything. Done.

I love quick, satisfying, healthy dinners like this that are a snap to put together, and easily carry you into the week. SALADS FOREVER.

The end.

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the 100 day project – day 75

So yesterday I wrote a post about the worst parts of mental health issues, and today I’m writing a post about some of the best things.

Today, I watched some of my fellow runners run a really hard race. But on top of just watching this, I watched Steven watch Preety run a really hard race. And let me tell you, there are no love eyes like this set of love eyes. I told Steven this afterwards, but this is what I aspire to. Because if my partner doesn’t look at me like he’s dying inside with love and pride whenever I race past him, then what is the fucking point. These two are the shit. They are the love.

I have several couples like this in my life – who make me feel all soft inside. And even though sometimes being single suuuuuuuuucks, it’s so so so nice to see people who you admire who are so fucking in love.

The end.

the 100 day project – 61-74?

I’ve skipped a lot of days. Many on which, I have had an idea, or have meant to write, but have just made some kind of excuse, or have just been lazy.

Tonight, at run crew, I found out that one of us died. It was not someone who I personally knew, but it was a person who felt, this past week, that the alternatives had become so bleak that the only option left was to take her own life. And despite not knowing this person, I do have some idea of what it feels like to feel so alone, and it is utterly heartbreaking that there was not some way to pull her from this place.

The thing that I spoke about briefly with a running colleague, and that we rarely speak about in running, is that there is a reason that we run. And in a crew like ours, when that reason is not vanity, it can often be to escape some darkness. OBVIOUSLY this is not the case for everyone, but I would wager than many of us struggle, and that running is the non-negotiable part of our week that keeps us away from that darkness and closer to the light. This is why I run. And maybe I’m projecting my own escapism and triumph onto others, but holy hell has it helped.

This is a segue, and I don’t know how else to segue it, so here we go. There was a time in my youth, where every day, I wanted to die. I cried. A lot. And I remember always feeling so alone. Every day was a day long full blown panic attack. And I remember, walking down the street and thinking to myself. This is the moment. I cannot possibly take this any more. Today is the day. Something needs to change, or I am going to kill myself. Because if this is my life… if this is the way that I am going to feel every single day, I cannot fucking take it any more.

And that week, I checked myself into therapy, and began to make a change. BUT I was lucky. By some fluke, there was a program that existed for people affected by addiction to receive free therapy, and by some miracle, I was still a student, so it fit into my schedule. By some further miracle, my brother had gone before me, and so had primed the counsellors at this facility to know that addiction had been a factor leading me to this moment. I had not fully realized that my father was a raging alcoholic, and honestly, if the therapists I was working with had not known this in advance, there is no way that I would have felt that I qualified for their help. I was still living under the keep calm carry on banner, and I had literally no idea that my childhood was a horrific shit show until I was explicitly told by a stranger.

ANYWAYS, the point that I am trying to make here, is that SOMEHOW, for me, the resources existed. And without them, I would not be alive today. I would have gone to this place. I would have felt alone and unworthy. I would have taken my own life. And I would no longer be here.

And even though now, I do not feel suicidal, I do feel many of the feelings that lead me to feel that way. I feel the anxiety, and insecurity, and loneliness. I don’t feel like I’m good enough. For anyone. Or anything. I feel despair.

No. I do not feel these things all the time. In fact, most of the time, I feel loved and amazing and supported, and just the best.

But every time I hear about someone who was not able to find that support, who was not able to ask for help, who did not believe that the darkness would ever pass, I feel the need to talk about this all over again. We need to start taking mental health seriously, and we need to start listening to people who suffer, and we need to remove the stigma associated with darkness and depression. We need to make it ok to talk about mental health so that noone ever feels that there are no options left for them. So here’s my challenge for you – if you are one of those who sometimes suffers – talk about it. Talk about it with your friends; talk about it with your colleagues; talk about it casually and openly like you might any other normal health issues that impedes your day. You wouldn’t be made to feel shameful for seeking asthma treatment, and it should be no more shameful to seek treatment for mental health.

The more we talk about it when we’re well, the easier we make it for others to talk about it when they’re not, and the better things will get for all of us.

THE END.

the 100 day project – day 57-60 – labels

I don’t know if it’s the best time for me to write this post, because it’s actually been kind of a long day, and I’m all nestled up in my bedroom, and I kind of just want to read for a bit and then drift off to sleep. But I’ve been thinking about labels a lot lately – how others label us, and how we label ourselves – and how sometimes we cling to old labels when they are no longer serving us.

When I was younger, and hung out with people who judged me a lot more, and also had less control over my anxiety, I accepted the label of “she’s just crazy”.

I carry with me the label of “bisexual”, which by the way is a word that I LOATHE. Bisexuals get a bad rep from gay and straight people alike, and having “sexual” right there in the label just further perpetuates the stereotype that we’re just out there to fuck anyyooooooone, and we’re completely non-discerning. Noone takes bisexuals seriously. And I really don’t think that the label is helping our case.

“Loud” is one that is either good or bad, depending on who is in the room. For those who love me, it’s endearing, and for those who don’t it showcases what a crass human I am.

The ones that have been giving me grief this year are both “vegetarian” and “scientist”. Caveat – I am NOT an actual scientist. But I work in the sciences. And it’s a deeply engrained part of my self-identity. It’s what makes me feel smart. Which is great. I love the sciences. But sometimes I wonder if clinging to this identity, and needing it be part of my career path is actually serving me, or if I’m just holding on because of self imposed beliefs that I am not intelligent without it.

Also “vegetarian”. This is the contentious one. I have been a vegetarian for 12 years, and I recently revealed that because of my chronic anemia, which I have tried every possible avenue to resolve, I am going to start eating meat again – once a month. ONCE A MONTH. I have been struggling with this decision for over a year. How can I say that I care about the environment if I eat meat? Did I try hard enough to increase my iron stores? Am I a failure? What am I without vegetarianism?

And here’s the thing. I will still be a vegetarian 97% of the time. Outside of my one teeny tiny pasture raised ethically sourced steak. But somehow, this was such a struggle. And while many of the reactions that I received were supportive, there were also quite a few that were so filled with judgement and shaming. Writing this, I am also fully aware that there is a very high chance that I will receive a slew of comments of “Have you tried floradix?” “I tried this other method, and I didn’t have a problem.” “You’re lazy, and you don’t care about animals.” Ok so noone that I know sent me that last one, but I would not be surprised if I got it here. Also, I DO know that many of the attempts to let me know about other sources of iron come from a place of love and not judgement, but they still added to me further questioning my decision, whether it was the right one, and whether I was “giving up”.

And here lies to the problem with this label. Even if I have been chronically anemic for ten years, and have recently been getting sick twice a month due to lowered immune function and fatigue… even if I have tried every other iron supplementation scheme I can think of, I will still get some grief. When I was a vegan, it was even worse. God forbid someone identifying publicly as vegan make a post about using a teaspoon of honey. Lest they subject themselves to name-calling and swearing and the solid affirmation from others in the community that they were not, and would never be a “vegan”. I truly believe that this sort of behaviour prevents so many people who would otherwise eat a more animal and planet friendly diet from exploring this avenue. Why try at all if you’ll get shit on for anything less than a complete dietary and lifestyle overhaul? It’s just too much.

Anyways. So here I go. One piece of meat. Once a month. I feel weird about it, and I feel sad for the loss of this part of my identity. But I can’t continue to feel sick and fatigued for the sake of a label. And even though I will probably get all sorts of shit for posting this, I felt the need to do it anyways, in case another person out there who is feeling the same way just needed a tiny bit of support. I am not my labels. You are not your labels. And even the good ones, if left unchecked, can start to stifle.

The end.