Another blog? Yup! And some other exciting plans!

Hey everyone!

I have started to train for a half marathon. Don’t ask me why I am thinking this is a good idea as Winter is just about starting, but regardless, I am.

In response to my training I have decided to start a blog where I document what I am thinking about while on my runs. Sometimes I think about some really interesting stuff, other times not so much, but either way I thought it would be cool to see. I hope to inspire people with the way that I share my thoughts and that’ll encourage them to tackle things they think are scary but want to do anyhow (like how I did with running).

You can check it out here at http://streamoflaura.net

Over my winter break from school I’ve decided to produce a cookbook zine. I am hoping it will be ready to go by January 20, but we shall see! It’s going to be chock full of kid-friendly recipes, since it is about my favorite recipes that I grew up with turned vegan, and the memories I have about them.

For a project with school right now, I am designing a series of posts for this blog about Labor History for vegans. I hope to educate my readers about issues of labor in our food choices and how we can understand labor issues past and present and consume foods that are not just helping save non-human animals, but also are treating the human workers that make our foods nicely and honoring their rights. Look for that, as well as some more educational topics I will be exploring soon!

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This is a non food related post. It’s about my personal transformation in many ways

Awhile ago, I was having a conversation with a friend whom I had not talked to in a long time, but we are friends with each other on facebook. She said, “this is your year.”

I told her I didn’t want just this year to be my year.

I actually think this next calendar year will be even better! I have a lot planned for it. But really, I think each year can get better and better, considering all the things I have accomplished this year, and how much my attitude and mindset has changed!

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In 2013, starting in April (I’m not one to care about new year type things really, I need more personal reasons to make change in myself), I have gone from being very unhealthy with my food choices, to being a conscious, healthy (with unhealthy vegan food in moderation, which I personally feel is important) vegan. I have lost 65 pounds. I have made working out a routine. I have tackled many of my fears, for example, being afraid to run, math, making up my own recipes, etc. I have started this blog and though I don’t write in it as much as I’d like to or as much about what I want to write about, I keep up with it and do it. I have even improved my health in measurable ways, like my hemoglobin a1c levels, my bmi, my blood pressure, my cholesterol, and my iron levels (they were very low). I took on an important role in an organization I love and that empowers me and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy (Girls Rock). I have tried to make practice of being more creative and doing more awesome things. I am starting to work on having a better social life, something I’ve been neglecting to do for awhile.  I accidentally discovered a recipe I created two years ago was semi famous. And other awesome things I am forgetting or not putting a priority on.

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Next year though, I believe will be even better. I will graduate a college program, something I have been longing for a very long time but never quite achieved. That’s a big one for me. I would like to see if maybe I can win the contest to speak at my graduation, but that’s not something I can control the outcome of (I also think I might start bawling if I started to speak about all the things I’ve accomplished during my time in school. It’s one thing to write about it, but to speak it? heh). I will continue to write in this blog.  I plan to either start a new college program, or begin to work on my career goals. I will volunteer at an animal shelter (which I’m actually starting this year after finals hopefully). I will be a vegan for the longest stretch of time so far. I will continue to be a healthy person and have goals for that…including running a 5k by the time I turn 30 on my Birthday in October (or thereabouts), and starting to lift weights. I will have stronger relationships with my friends. Most importantly, everything about me will get stronger. My mind, body, everything.

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My mom and I! She’s a big supporter 😉

I am sharing this because maybe someone is reading my blog and is feeling badly about their ability to meet their goals, or get healthy, or change their bad habits, or whatever else. I want to inspire people, that’s my primary goal. Well, that and help as many people as possible. If 2013 is the year of the Laura and 2014 will be an even better year from what I can see and so on for the rest of my life, then other people can do the same thing! I don’t want to spew too many cliches. But really, believe me when I say that anything you put your mind to is possible.

Okay. Now here’s the part where I talk about what/who has helped me out when I thought I couldn’t do it. I’m not going to mention everything, but there are some clear, concise things I want to share that everyone can use if they want to.

Mostly it’s just support from other people. Like especially my mom, my aunt, my friends, mentors, doctors, etc.

Also myself, which I’ve already alluded to. Like really. It’s all about my mindset. I watch the Biggest Loser sometimes on tv, and I would tell myself I am my own biggest loser, as silly as it sounds. Actually it’s not really silly. It’s true. I did it without having to go on a tv show that’s actually pretty extreme and a last resort kind of thing. Or, I’ll be my own therapist sometimes, by anticipating the advice another person would give me, but instead it’s me giving myself actually helpful advice, and then just doing what the advice tells me I should do instead of waiting to feel bad I haven’t done it, or have someone else telling me to do it. Like today, I beat my own personal record for running. First of all, I walk and run in intervals, and I keep track of my progress with an app called Runkeeper. Usually I have been setting my activity to “walking” but today, I was like “okay I am going to run!” and set it to run. And I ran. I ran as far as I could for as long as I could, as fast as I could, until I needed to walk, and kept going for 45 minutes. Plus, I set a goal to run faster than my usual record when I was walking more. I wanted to go just under 13 min/mile. Instead, I ran 11:51 min/mile! I was proud and sort of in shock. But I am not surprised. If someone else could hear the awesome things I was telling myself while they were running, I bet they’d do just as well (considering some factors, of course).

Another final thing I want to mention, to make it more inline with the purpose of my blog which is spreading, sharing, and showing the awesomeness that comes with being a vegan is this facebook group I belong to. I really like to follow the work of Christy Morgan, author of the Blissful Bites cookbook, and awesome athlete/vegan educator extraordinaire. After commenting on one of her photos on instagram, she asked me if I belonged to her vegan ladies who lift facebook group. I was hesitant because I don’t think I am ready to be lifting weights quite yet, but she still encouraged me to join. And it’s one of my favorite vegan facebook groups! It is so supportive and everyone there is awesome. Not only do I get inspired by so many other strong vegan ladies, but I can also inspire others there. And it’s very informative and just…really cool for lack of a better description. So, I highly recommend it if you’re a vegan lady and interested in also getting stronger.

Okay, well, sorry this isn’t about food this time! But I hope this is just as tasty a read as any of my other entries. And I hope you were inspired in some way from my story. Here’s to having each year be the year of us for a very long time!

 

I’ve been cooking up a storm for a great cause!

Hey everyone,

So my blogging has been lagging a bit, and I am sorry, but recently I have been busy organizing a big food project for a non profit organization’s event I love.

LADIES ROCK! CAMP, by Girls Rock! Rhode Island is this weekend!

Since participating in the Ladies Rock Camp in 2012, I have been fairly committed to being a volunteer as much as I can, especially at the past two Summer camps for girls. For this Ladies Rock camp, I was asked to coordinate the food for it. It’s a fundraiser for the work they do throughout the year but especially for the Summer Camp, so having yummy food to energize and nourish the lady campers is super important!

Here’s a picture of me participating (or I should probably say ROCKING) in the Showcase (I turned around to face the crowd shortly after, it was all part of the show haha):

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It was an empowering, special, fun and informative learning experience for me. Well, not just a learning experience–but the “experience” (of any sort) of a lifetime!

As a teen growing up I loved music and wished there was something like this for me. I longed to be a masterful musician, something that really frustrated me because music was always a difficult subject for me to pick up.

I dabbled with guitar but it was difficult to find a good teacher who encouraged me not to give up and let me learn in a way that made sense for me. I eventually gave up because I was only being taught old classic rock songs my dad and this particular teacher liked, as well as that I seem to have more of an intuitive learning style with music, and am not as good at picking up skills through formal, music theory teaching methods.

Girls Rock! RI (and the many other Girls Rock camps across the country and world) is a big solution for girls today who are like me when I was an adolescent. If it wasn’t for Girls Rock, many of these girls would not have the encouragement, support, or option to play and learn rock music. As an adult entering the camp in 2012, I thought I was doomed and would not do well as a vocalist. I was discouraged a lot for my singing voice by a lot of people around me growing up, and had to work through those issues. I had always wanted to sing, but was really afraid. I did it, and I saw such an improvement in myself.

My favorite part though, is beyond the music. Whether you are participating in a program as an adult or adolescent, there are multiple opportunities to bond with fellow females, relate and share experiences that are unique to being a woman or girl, gain empowerment, support, and learn new things (like notable figures in the history of rock–the females who made an impact that are often not mentioned in rock history).

This is by far the biggest event I’ve ever had to make food for (I’m getting a lot of help cooking, but I have also been a cooking machine myself). It has been a lot of work but also a lot of fun, and I cannot wait to hear what people think of some of my favorite foods and my new recipes I have made. I was too scared to make any unique recipes up myself, just in case they flopped, but eventually I hope to get to that point where I feel confident enough with my recipe creations to debut a dish for an event such as this!

The foods I am making are all vegan and gluten free (with maybe a few last minute exceptions to some non-gluten free stuff).They include items such as homemade granola, cookies, cashew cream cheeses and butters, a yummy bean dish, salad dressing, etc! Many other people have stepped up to also donate their time and cooking skills, as well as purchasing items we need and donating them! So I want to thank them all here if they are reading this by any chance!

Here are a few links in case you are interested in getting involved and learning more:

Girls Rock! RI’s website

Girls Rock Camp Alliance (to find if there is a camp near you if you do not live in RI, and much more)

An article about Girls Rock RI in the Providence Phoenix 

And if you’re in RI come to the showcase for this Ladies Rock camp! It is on Sunday the 10th, at 7pm at Firehouse 13.