#veganchallenge – A girl can change her mind, can’t she?!

I never thought I’d rethink my meat-eating. I really didn’t. But I am and it started with my sister-in-law saying she has started following a vegan diet when we met at my in-laws a few weeks ago. My mother in law and her husband are vegetarians and have been for a few years. So it was already mainly a meat free diet being served (although my mother in law had kindly cooked us some chicken tikka masala, I must mention)

Back to the vegan thing. So my sister-in-law was instantly attacked with loads of stereotypical jokes from us 3 meat eaters, when explaining the reasons for her new eating habits. As I’m throwing out these jokes on a regular interval, however, I realise it must be something that happen to vegans/vegetarians all the time – being made fun of, questioned and asked to justify their position and any seemingly inconsistencies in their argument. Why is that? I don’t constantly have to explain why I eat meat.

Anyway, I had a revelation should I say about my own reasoning and justifications when it comes to eating meat,very surprisingly actually. I haven’t considered challenging myself on this point before because I’ve been convinced meat serves an important purpose for us. And as you’ve noticed here on the blog I’ve had a keen interest in high protein diets, which is can be perceived as a contradiction to a no-animal diet. There are some convincing arguments for a high protein diet being the way forward, but having read up a bit more I’ve come across arguments equally convincing saying the opposite. Arguments covering several aspects of life (health, environment, treatment of animals, weight) not just maintaining a certain weight. As we say in Sweden; “Man är inte sämre än att man kan ändra sig” (“I’m not worse than I can change my mind”)

The more I’ve thought about it I’ve realised that my justifications for eating meat is kind of poor and doesn’t really cover the kind of meat I tend to eat – cheap, mass-produced and also processed meat. The means to get it cheap and easily accessible to me, is worrying both from a moral and health perspective. Hence the reasoning; “I don’t think it’s wrong or bad for my health to eat grass feed beef from a local butcher, but because it’s not available to me price or location wise – it’s equal to substitute it with cheap store-bought meat.”

It’s not that someone else has challenged me on it (although my sister-in-law shared some blog & books after I showed an interest), but the seed was sown at some point and it has now lead me to this conclusion: I can’t really defend eating meat the way I do. If I’m going to continue I will have to accept the fact that I can’t defend it and have no good excuse and hats off for those who don’t. I haven’t made a definite decision where this revelation should take me, so maybe it’s a bit premature blogging about it. It is a very personal thing and my choices has to be right for me and I don’t have to stick to anyone else’s rules.

Some who read this will probably feel like I’ve done a one-eighty. And I have, as regards to the meat, I suppose. But all the other stuff is basically the same.

Jon just sighs; “Gosh, you always have to think of ways to make your diet more complicated.”

Either way, exploring new recipes and rethinking old ones is always fun, so I’ve decided to set myself a challenge – a vegan diet challenge. I have already started and I’m on day 6 of 30. I say vegan but actually it only partly describes the changes I’m making. And also, important to point out now; I’m only talking about a vegan diet at this point. So that no vegan lifestyle activist get offended and call me a fake. I’m not looking for a title to live up to in any way. Any change is a good change.

I did not realise (silly me) the environmental aspect of eating meat, not fully anyway. I read yesterday that you can do more for the environment by cutting out meat one day a week, than eating local produce seven days a week. So any change is really a good change and I’m doing something.

Besides eating a vegan based diet I’m also continue to cut out gluten, sugar, starchy and processed food and opt for organic produce as much as possible. It’s about making healthy choices.

After the 30 days I will evaluate and see how I want to move forward. Here’s some stuff I’ve eaten this week:

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Baby swim

Why is it called “maternity leave”,it should be called maternitywork.I know, I know – you’re on leave from your work to be a mother. It’s just the word gives the signals you’re somehow not doing anything. But in fact it’s probably the hardest job there is, and you have to do it sleep deprived.

Things are going better now though. I know part of dealing with this baby period is your attitude towards it. But when the stress & lack of sleep gets to you it’s hard to see that it’s a short period of time and that you’re there for your baby now. But usually you pick yourself up after a day of negativity and you’re back on track trying to puzzle and juggle to get the jobs done.

To mix it all up and give the family some nice, relax time we decided to bock baby swim for Aiden. I’m glad we did! He really seemed to enjoy it and was splashing water like a mad man. He slept nicely afterwards as well. The leader was swimming around meeting all the babies and when she came to Aiden she said; “Here’s someone who likes to swim! He’s not still for a second!”

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Winter melt down

Isn’t it just typical that the day after writing this very positive, ambitious post – I have the worst day… That’s reality I guess. Up & down.

I’ve been sleeping badly lately (unusually bad) due to Aiden being sick and waking up a lot and me not being able to unwind and fall asleep. I’ve felt eaten up by life to the extent that I’m not even thinking my own thoughts. Days of irritation finally lead to a break down when Aiden refused to eat because he’s nose was blocked and just screamed of frustration. And what’s the best solution? A crying mum throwing her mobile and stuff on the floor? Probably not, but hey we’re all human…

Realised that I need to go back to basics. Just be happy getting through a day, especially if we haven’t slept. I’ve felt great lately so I’ve snuck more and more into my days and more demands & pressure on myself without sensing when it’s enough. That in combination with wanting to be helpful to others have emptied the little reserves I had. That might be why my brain is working so hard at bedtime. But just in case I’ve cut down on coffee to one cup a day, in the morning, as well.

Now I just need to find out why Aiden wakes up at 4am expecting to be up and play. It’s a bit inconvenient.

I need to keep a closer eye on myself and recognise signs of me getting stressed, to remind myself that I need to take a step back. It’s not nice when you feel you’re losing control and that you physically feel dizzy and feel like you have a helmet squeezing your head tighter and tighter. It can’t be healthy!

It’s boring and lame to have to cut down, as I want to do more in a day. But I can’t right now – sleep and health is most important.

Today we went for a walk to the store, it’s freezing cold here in Sweden right now. My thighs are still hurting from the cold. This only though we just took a short walk as Aiden’s still not well from his cold.

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The year to come

I haven’t commented on the fact that it’s now 2014. Or that I’ve now reached the mature age of 32. Or that it’s been five months since Aiden came flying (literally) out of me. None of these facts are insignificant to me of course, but neither have they made a huge fuss about them. But I think it’s time for a bit of reflection & create some visions for the year ahead of us. I am terribly excited about this year – 2014.

In 2014 I will finally reclaim my body. I think I somehow thought this would happen after giving birth – that I would feel like me again. And I hear it’s like that for some – not for me. The body I got back after giving birth was weak, destroyed and flabby (although I think the last point is pretty common). I wish I could feel like some that my body is awesome for going through a pregnancy & producing a baby etc etc. I mean, the process of childbirth is amazing! The fact that women can carry and grow a whole new human being is one of creation’s most extraordinary functions. But I do not like what it’s done to my physical abilities (or physical appearance but that’s secondary and less of a worry). Anyway, 2014 I will get it all back & more! I will regain strength, flexibility and energy. And I will not be ashamed to get undressed on the beach (in Mallorca if I get my will) – stretch marks and cellulites and all.

We will also get to know our baby boy a lot more this year. People always tell you to enjoy babyhood cause it passes and I’m trying to, but I’m also SO EXCITED about the future little person this baby will turn into. We will see him develop into a meter+ little being with thoughts that he can hopefully express in two languages and little legs that can carry his little steps after us around the house (and away from us even quicker, I expect). Tiny little hands that will seek our hands for guidance and comfort. I can’t wait!

Soon our little “plutt” will be 6 months, which is a milestone. I will introduce him to a healthy, balanced diet and have already started a little. That – with an active outdoor schedule will hopefully make him enjoy his night-time sleep as much as we will.

In 2014, Jon and I will take up our training together again, for the benefit of both our relationship and waistlines. We will invest in a Fitbit each as we’re equally gadget crazy and this will provide motivation to keep moving and keep healthy – providing a good example for our son. He will see us move and see this as a normal part of life. He will join in, in a playful way when he can.

I will continue on the track I’ve been on regarding web development focusing on WordPress development and responsive theme development using Sass library for design. It’s so much fun!!!

I will continue balancing life’s all parts and hopefully do it more efficiently to get the most out of things. We’ll keep working on our family routines in priority order and give ourselves plenty of time for just living. Although I’m pretty bad at that – just being, enjoying, living.

In March Jon & I will have our fifth anniversary. With a third person in our family now, we need to give extra care and attention to our marriage. Hopefully we get a chance to do something just the two of us to celebrate these five years. We’ll see what happens.

And concerning the blog, I so look forward to my new blog design. I look forward to developing my photographing & editing skills for blog photos.

That’s a few things I look forward to in the year to come. There’s other and more important things as well, but this is what gets shared on the blog. Now; bring on 2014!

First porridge

Spelt porridge with mango puree, served in a lovely bowl he got from an elderly lady we know in Maidstone.

We got the lovely bowl from a lady we know in Maidstone. She had eaten from it when she was little kid and her sister as well as her niece. But since she doesn’t have any children herself and wouldn’t therefore have any grandchildren she wanted someone to have it. When she found out I was pregnant she came up and asked if I wanted it. I felt really unworthy of it in a way, you know. As it was clear it was very precious to her. But I could not say no, when she so kindly offered and picked me for some reason. Good thing is it’s being used and we think of her. Lovely Marjorie.

Made Aiden some porridge after this recipe, and translated to English it goes a little something like this:

  • 1 tbsp ground organic pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp organic spelt flour
  • 100 – 150 ml of water
  • unsalted butter or rapeseed oil
  • Mango puree

Basically you just mix the first 3 ingredients, bring to boil – add butter/oil if you want and serve with mango puree.

Aiden looking sceptical

Chia seed pudding

Chia Pudding

 

Of course I HAD to try this hyped chia seed pudding/porridge thing out there everywhere on all health, exercise blogs. Especially since I’m trying to introduce high protein without meat/dairy products. More about that later!

This first one I did following this recipe, in English it would be:

  • 2 tbsp organic chia seeds (I didn’t have organic this time though – next time!)
  • 1 tbsp organic coconut flakes
  • ~12g saffron
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla essence (again didn’t have organic this time…)
  • 200 ml unsweetened almond milk (gaah! didn’t realise they would sweeten it, found unsweetened one now so will buy it from now on)
  • 2 finely chopped dates for sweetening (I didn’t have dates so just used some maple syrup)

Anyway, you mix it all and refrigerate overnight and serve with berries and maybe some almond milk.

So my verdict? It’s not bad. Not awesome either though. But that could have been because I expected it to taste like passion fruit, cause this saffron version looks like passion fruit.

I’m trying cardamom and cinnamon and maple syrup for tomorrows porridge.

Lasts days in Portsmouth

The last days in the UK I didn’t take many photos. Not being a very good photographer I find it hard to take photos when it’s too dark and indoors. So that was part of the reason. I did drag “my” camera with me everywhere though. So unfortunately we didn’t get many photos when Jon’s sister & husband arrived. Here’s a couple after a walk and we stop for a drink at Wetherspoons.

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The Men Who Made Us Fat

The men who made us fat“The question is not why there are so many fat people […], but why there are thin people in an environment that is leading us all to be obese”

 

I’d like to highly recommend this 3 part BBC documentary called “The men who made us fat”. So interesting! Never put your trust in government guidelines, recommendations or food company labelling/marketing to educate you on what’s healthy! There’s to many conflicting agendas and the main priority is not to recommend that is best for us humans. (there’s also; The men who made us thin)

The men who made us fat BBC documentary
The men who made us fat