Happy New Year!!

I recently quit my nanny-ing job,so I’m beginning the new year free and with a job search. I will be moving to the Steel City as soon as I find a new job! One of my new years resolutions is to update her more often, but you can also find me on totallycasey.tumblr.com I’m also going to give this page a huge face lift,including a name change. So, this page may not be coming out of the pantry for much longer,or I may start using my other wordpress that came with my account.

Poor,Poor Vegan.

For those who do not know,I’m a part-time,private nanny. For those of us who work with children, you know how easy it is to just eat what you make the kids to eat.
This has been a battle I’ve floundered with. I am not the parent…I’m essentially told what to cook(given choices,but they’re very limited and none vegan) and,when I can, I simply share my food. Like tonight. I will be sharing my pasta with the little girl I care for. Her younger brother is still in baby food and her older siblings are gone for the night.
Nights like this are exceptionally easy.
But, this is not the norm.
I cannot tell you how often I make the kids sandwiches or chicken nuggets and look at my cheap,vegan food and feel sad.
I’ve eaten some of their food,yes. For a while,I was embarrassed, but I thought, “no, other people have these problems,too”… it has nothing to do with how much I like my vegan diet…it has everything to do with my food budget and how lack luster my food has been and how hard it is to make portable sometimes.
Brown rice and veggies,tvp nachos, peanut butter and jelly…. these are good, but they get old when placed in a loop.
To help with this, I’m making new recipes this month.
Yesterday, I made the Tortilla Soup recipe from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra. Very good, but I prefer it as a warm salsa and not a soup.
So, my picki-ness is also causing a problem.
If and when I can make my food budget bigger, there will be no issues.
Essentially, I can guarantee myself $100 for a month. This makes things VERY tough.
So, what I did this month was buy a bunch of canned beans(I already have dry) a bunch of pasta, bisquick,vital wheat gluten, tvp and some non-dairy milks. I already had rice, quinoa and flour.
I was wondering, is there anyone else out there dealing with such a tight budget as a vegan and how do you deal with it?

What You Make It

Few things in my life have turned out how I would like. Frankly, looking back on my 26 years makes me nothing but sad. Its like I’ve nothing right.
My grades have always been mediocre, I never got to have the “real” college experience and I still don’t even have my license.
The vast majority is my fault, however, I never had help.
I acknowledge that many,many people do not have help and have been in worse situations than me,but I have always struggled with finding the reins to steer my own life in a decent direction.
For a brief period, right after high school, I had the reins but lacked the wisdom and foresight to properly maintain that grasp.
So, here I am… Taking a break from school, struggling with my eating disorder again, my only job doesn’t have a steady paycheck, and I’m trying to make a plan… because as the saying goes “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
Problem is I’m so indecisive. I do have some dreams,but I know it’s financially wise to build myself stepping stones: a certification, an associates THEN a bachelors and maybe an advanced degree.
For the life of me,though, and I swear this is true, one of the few things that keeps me sane is being vegan.
Its the one thing I’m sure I can do that I enjoy and want to continue doing. Its been my anchor.
Everyone has something like this.
I have so many different paths before me. Most of my time is spent being angry at myself for not being smarter or more responsible and things I messed up with in the past.
The hardest part is people not properly relating. Most people are pushing for me to quit. “They’re taking advantage of you” and “you know its ok to quit, right? You can totally quit!” are examples of phrases I hear from my closest friends. They don’t seem to understand how much I don’t want to quit. Of course, I want a second job,but outright quitting is completely out of the question.
I’m not even sure if this post belongs here, but I don’t seem to have many readers, so I don’t see why it matters.
Everyone struggles with life but if life is what you make it, how else can I change it? None of my planning works. I’m, frankly, not interested in many of the 1-yr certification programs my school has and the ones I am interested in I don’t think I could handle and I’m not sure what I’d do with them.

Everything feels like a lost cause.

Human beings, psychologically, seem to need to place blame. That’s another struggle because,as far as my license goes, I should have been helped with that in high school but, since I was gone for so long, now its completely my fault I don’t have my license yet.
Living in the now and focusing on evolving is wreaking havoc on my future. The longer I drag my feet, the longer I’m stuck here in this situation with nowhere to go and nothing I can do about it.

Life is just really sucking right now and I don’t have much faith it will get better.

Thing I’ve Learned: Spotlight On: My Dairy Allergy

My allergy is probably the biggest reason my opposition to dairy is so strong. See, it is true that your body kind of “resets’ every 7 or so years… so sometimes you”grow out of” allergies, acquire a different taste for things…all of that. However, when someone is lactose intolerant…typically, they’re lacking an enzyme needed to digest said sugar properly. I never acquired that enzyme… frankly, I’m not certain you can, but I could be wrong.
My mother tells me that it took a long time for my pediatrician to come to the conclusion I was allergic to dairy. I suppose I can see that, however, my mother was teenage mother and all she knew was I was constantly sick somehow. Ear infections and throat infections were common in me… she may have thought it was normal if it hadn’t been almost constant. Either way, the doctor finally figured it out, they put me on a different formula and I seemed ok.
As I grew older, I knew I was allergic to dairy and I continuously remember lobbying the lunch ladies to give me fruit juice with my lunch instead. I explained I was allergic, the school demanded a note proving this.
I also had a lunch lady tell me point-blank that I would grow out of the allergy and,in fact, the more I ate, the faster my body would adapt to it… I wasn’t even 10 at the time… I believed her.
Slowly, I became completely addicted to my allergen. I added it to nearly everything I made. To me, the red blotches on my face were a small price to pay for the taste of cheese and butter. It didn’t faze me in the slightest.
When I gave up dairy… I remember it was an actual detox… the cheese talked to me… called to me! It was persistent! My face became the blotchiest it’s ever been and I felt like absolute crap for days! The first day I felt better,though, I actually looked my worst. I looked old…very aged… I was 24 at the time, I looked nearly 40. But, that all subsided… next, approximately 2.5 inches disappeared from my waist… almost over night! I was that swollen!
It was shortly after this time I discovered I was wasn’t just lactose-intolerant, but allergic to casein. I remember, my mother bought me veggie slices and my face broke out like someone had attempted to slap me to death! I was a fairly new vegan and knew what casein was, but I figured it was an easy mistake and my exact thought was “it’s not like I’m allergic to it”… the hell I wasn’t! I felt the whole digestion process of those veggie cheese slices! Worst of all: they didn’t even taste that good.
My struggle with dairy though ( I still crave it ) actually makes me very angry for our children. I was coaxed into thinking it was ok to ignore my allergy… that it wasn’t a big deal my face turned red… My RED face wasn’t a RED flag to me that I had put something in it that it didn’t want and couldn’t properly use… because the generations before had been taught that cow’s milk was the “perfect food”.
And they are teaching our kids this, too.
Right now, in any school, there’s another child, like me, being told their allergy isn’t a “big deal”. I concede that it doesn’t cause anaphylaxis,but it’s still an allergy. I’m bitter because I feel as if I was goaded into my addiction to my allergen by people who should have known better but didn’t because dairy has such amazing lobbyists. So good, in fact, they are the only industry that can directly advertise to your children in their school, without you there. If the company brings a “Got Milk?” poster to your child’s school, they have t put it up. They are the only group allowed to do this in a school.
I hate that people even eat dairy in the first place. To me, meat can be choice, but dairy is just plain unnatural and, no, I do not think its safe for children or adults for that matter.
Call me crazy, but I’d cook a hamburger or a steak for a guest before I’d pour them a glass of milk or throw a piece of cheese on top.
I guess the whole situation just makes me angry. An allergy is an allergy… it shouldn’t have been down played to the extent it was. That our society STILL does that drives me insane! How often do you see commercials for Lactaid type products?? I hope this entry wasn’t a downer and you don’t judge me on an entry,of which, I have very strong, very biased, very extreme convictions (we didn’t even talk about the dairy cows and their calf’s at a factory farm) I just feel these things needed to be said and shared.

Vegan for a Week

I wanted to take a minute and gush because new vegans and people try to eat more vegan meals gets me excited! See, this lifestyle change for me has been profound so I’m always excited when people want to know more and ask me (serious) questions.

The sad thing, to me,is that most people will say “I couldn’t do that”. Why is it so sad to me? Well, because people think its all or nothing. It doesn’t have to be. One of my favorite posts I’ve ever done was on the different types of vegans. You can scroll down or copy paste the link: http://wp.me/pZc2s-4r . I did it because people need to understand that even just eating vegan one day a week is good in general.
So, what specifically am I gushing about?
Two people who work in the dairy industry (not sure on specifics) have decided to try a week of eating vegan! David Jones and Carrie Isaacson are their names. According to the first post by Jones on his blog , “This week will be an exercise in “walking in someone else’s shoes,””. Its a great idea!
Honestly, this is part of the reason I have a problem with Peta. You’re going to just thrust a photo of a tortured animal in someones face and scream they need to go veg? Thats not only disrespectful, its extreme and you don’t make a lot of friends by being overtly extreme. You’re not “walking in some else’s shoes”. When people ask me why I went vegan,like most people with common sense, I start with something that will make sense to them…I feel people eat too much meat (approximately 200lbs per person per year in the US) and I don’t believe its healthy.If they inquire further,I answer the questions,which usually deal with processing…
Back to my point though(I do that A LOT)… I hope all of us can take something from this example. They are willing to understand us and our lifestyle change/decision, so why shouldn’t we respect theirs? Granted, I hope they end up having at least one meal this week they end up preparing again,not only because of my bias that its healthier,but because everyone writes off our food as “boring” and “tasteless”….there needs to be more mainstream meals that break the stereo type of use being strictly salad eaters(I probably haven’t had a proper salad in weeks! Feel free to berate me in the comments). In the winter I eat some of the best soups,stews and pastas I’ve had my whole life…with a side of fresh home made bread.
I hope you all follow their week, like I am and send them some vegan love!
Carrie just posted today about their first vegan shopping trip on her blog and has a lot of pictures on her site. I can’t wait for the next post! Good luck you guys! Enjoy!!!

David Jones blog address: http://agrilifestyle.blogspot.com/
Carrie Isaacson blog address : carrieisaacson.wordpress.com

Tried to embed them and it messed up the post. *shrugs*

Things I’ve Learned: Spotlight On : I don’t have to abuse my body anymore

First, I’m going to apologize for being lousy about updating this blog. (I do that a lot,don’t I? Lol)
In all seriousness, though, I logged on to talk about something really close to my heart.
If you know anything about or have read just about anything I’ve written, you know I’ve struggled most of my life with an eating disorder or disordered eating. Becoming vegan taught me a lot about food and restored a faith I’d lost in myself that I was going to be ok. I didn’t need to hate myself and use food as currency in order to discipline myself.
I’m happy to share that,for nearly a year now, I have not felt the “urge to purge”.
Like many people, I’m evolving, in my own way and my own direction. I’m becoming more of an Engine 2 disciple and enjoy make my own things from scratch… which is part of the reason its so hard. The things I’m good at making from scratch I can’t have much of…. specifically bread. This breaks my heart… but I’m moving away from the topic here.
I don’t have to abuse my body anymore.
My body is a gift from the Divine.
I don’t have to fill it crap, force it puke, cut it, emaciate it…. I am free to love it.
Fill it with good foods, that will properly digest, heal me and strengthen me.
Thats a beautiful thing and a very emotional thing to talk about, believe it or not.
When you spend years with your head in a toilet and counting calories… waking up and knowing you don’t have to and you don’t have to feel guilty about it is surreal.
Knowing I’m not eating the flesh of a fellow abused being(though mine was self inflicted)is a good feeling,too.
I’m not sure how else to explain this. You’ve either been there or you haven’t. Sure, like all of us, I have bad days,where I’m tempted because I chose to eat something fatty… but I’d take a bad,now, as a vegan, over a good day,then, at the height of my disorder and self abuse.
As an aside, I’d like those of you with ED’s, if you are ready, to watch this or Forks Over Knives, Food Inc, King Corn…. Food politic movies…. but only if you’re ready. I would also like to say I love you.How to Lose Weight Without Loosing Your Mind

Things I’ve Learned : Spotlight On : My Faith

I try to keep the sharing of my faith to a minimum in public forums because I sincerely believe its a deeply personal thing. Religion is a beautiful thing, I would even argue that atheism is a religion. Why? Because religion is a belief system and a philosophy… atheism is that, too.
Often, I’ve been mistaken for an Atheist or a Satanist because I do not prescribe to the same beliefs as the Judeo-Christian monotheists that populate so much of the Western World… I am Pagan.
I refer to myself most often as a Witch.
Either way, allow me to explain that nearly every Witch, Pagan or Wiccan will describe their faith similarly but differently because it’s all about perception, like most things.
When I was 19, I had not been away from home a few months when the friend I came out there with was choosing to leave. I was terrified. The night, I had a religious experience as I lay crying in bed. I don’t expect anyone else to believe me, I don’t care what anyone else thinks about it,… it gave me peace and reassurance and helped me go to sleep.
Being Pagan, I am very Earth focused. To me, the God and Goddess are more fluid then solid… more “energy” than physical beings. They are the changing of the seasons… the leaves changing, the snow falling, the rain pouring, and the sun shining. Its just as simple and as complicated as that… the Goddess just IS.
My faith and my diet are very married in my mind, heart and soul. If the Goddess (read Nature,if you will), wanted me personally to eat meat and dairy, I wouldn’t be bothered by their blood being spilt and I wouldn’t be allergic to their bounty (like the vast majority of the world population). Those two very things and being true to them make me feel more centered in my faith and thats a beautiful thing.
The Goddess and God didn’t lend me claws and night vision, I don’t enjoy playing with smaller creatures as my cat does… the scent of blood does not excite me, and my system can not handle raw meat.
I also acknowledge The Pagan Rede as a guide of sorts, and it ends with something very important… “And it harm none, do what thou wilt”…. my former diet, I believe, was harmful to environment, especially the animal, as well as myself.

Eight words the Pagan Rede fulfill ; And it harm none, do what thou wilt

BHT-utiful

So, I was eating cereal just now; Post Shredded Wheat.Now, an app I had told me it was vegan. I still checked the ingredients myself to be sure, everything was fine except for their preservative. BHT. It was just added to the packaging so, I was still concerned, but only minimally. I know it can end up on the cereal. I bought it, brought it home and, as I was having my first bowl this morning, I looked up BHT.
WTF!
Seriously! I’ve looked at a few links, but this was the most comprehensive. http://whatisthatingredient.com/ingredient.php?id=22

“Where does BHT come from?

P-cresol, isobutylene, with a touch of isobutylene.”
ok…..
“What is BHT?
P-cresol is a chemical that is a mosquito attractant while isobutylene is a flammable substance one hydrocarbon away from common butane.”

So, my cereal is flammable AND attracts mosquitos… Apparently, because this crazy crap MAY CAUSE CANCER they’ve been replacing it with BHA which, from what I’m getting, has just been tested less.

Not that animal testing is reliable but it gave lab rats and hamsters sexy stomach tumors (squamous cell carcinomas and Papilloma, too). But in the mice, it had no effect and even may have even protected them from other chemicals carcinogenicity.

Either way, sounds like some fun stuff, huh? Cancer coated breakfast cereal. Yum!

Writers note: The BHA info I got WAS from wikipedia because I didn’t see any other place that talked about at length. I recognize how flaky wikipedia can be, but heres the entry for you to see for yourself. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butylated_hydroxyanisole enjoy!

@Peace_Love_Poop & @ThePureBar

On the blog Peace, Love & Poop , there’s a giveaway for a variety pack of Pure Bars. You can visit the site and the contest here. http://www.peacelovepoop.com/?p=516                                                                                                                                                                             I’ve actually been looking for a bar of some sort since I went vegan. There was once a phase in my life where I ate nearly everything in bar or sandwich form so not being able to find a bar really made me sad… I love bars and,while I don’t hate cooking, the less the better…. in the end, even if I’m not chosen as the winner of the contest, I’ll probably still invest in sampler pack if for no other reason than having bars on hand is more important to me than I thought.

So, enter the contest…. Pure Bars are organic, gluten-free, raw and vegan.

 
Peace Love and Poop